October 4, 2023


Art Is Experience

Marilyn Bergman, lyricist for Barbra Streisand, dies at 93

Marilyn Bergman, the prolific lyricist who as half of a songwriting duo with her husband, Alan, wrote the terms for dozens of extensively interpreted tracks together with “The Windmills of Your Mind,” “What Are You Performing the Rest of Your Life?” and the Oscar-successful concept from 1973’s “The Way We Have been,” died Saturday. She was 93.

Her loss of life, at her household in Beverly Hills, was confirmed by her spokesman, Ken Sunshine, who said the lead to was non-COVID-related respiratory failure.

A member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Bergman wrote about romance — its very first flush and its final gasp — with a flair for putting visible imagery and an practically philosophical bent: Consider the “misty watercolor memories” of a couple’s happier days as evoked in “The Way We Have been,” or of the mounting existential queries two getting old enthusiasts encounter in “How Do You Preserve the New music Taking part in?”

“How do you lose you to an individual and never ever reduce your way?” asks the latter music, very best regarded in a lush 1982 rendition recorded by Patti Austin and James Ingram, “And given that you know we’re constantly altering, how can it be the very same?”

Yet Bergman vividly dealt with other matters way too, as in “The Windmills of Your Brain,” a trippy conjuring of a bank robber’s frazzled psychological point out set to music by Michel Legrand, and “In the Heat of the Evening,” with its stark eyesight of American racial strife: “Stars with evil eyes stare from the skies all mean and vibrant,” Ray Charles sang in the gospel-fired version he recorded, with music by Quincy Jones, for Norman Jewison’s 1967 movie starring Sidney Poitier, who died Thursday.

In a profession that stretched in excess of half a century, the Bergmans worked routinely with Legrand and Jones as well as composers Henry Mancini and Marvin Hamlisch their songs were recorded by plenty of stars, like Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Dusty Springfield, Sting and Gladys Knight.

With a moody insignificant-to-big chord development by Hamlisch, “The Way We Were” — a industrial smash in Streisand’s rendering — impressed subsequent interpretations by functions as varied as Barry Manilow, Willie Hutch and Donna Summertime. In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan prominently sampled Knight’s deal with of the music for “Can It Be All So Straightforward,” a haunting reduce from the rap group’s groundbreaking debut, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).”

Past the Oscar for “The Way We Were” (prepared for Sydney Pollack’s weepy blockbuster with Streisand and Robert Redford), the Bergmans received Academy Awards for “The Windmills of Your Mind” (sung by Noel Harrison in 1968’s “The Thomas Crown Affair” and remade as a sultry torch music by Springfield on her traditional “Dusty in Memphis”) and their score for Streisand’s 1983 film “Yentl.” They also received four Emmys, two Golden Globes and two Grammys, together with the coveted music of the year award for “The Way We Ended up.”

Marilyn Bergman

Marilyn Bergman in 1995.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Instances)

On Instagram on Saturday, Streisand — who also recorded “Windmills,” “What Are You Undertaking the Relaxation of Your Lifetime?” and “Where Do You Start?” — described the Bergmans as “brilliant lyricists” and explained the couple “were like family” to her. “We achieved more than 60 a long time ago backstage at a minimal night time club, and hardly ever stopped loving every other and working together,” she wrote. Songwriter Diane Warren thanked Marilyn Bergman on Twitter for crafting “so several songs that will dwell without end,” and a submit on Bennett’s social media discovered “How Do You Continue to keep the Audio Participating in?” as his favorite music.

Norman Lear, the veteran Tv set author and producer, tweeted, “There was only just one Marilyn Bergman,” and explained she “takes a little bit of our hearts and souls with her now.” In the late ’70s, the Bergmans wrote “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” with Neil Diamond for Lear’s small-lived sequence “All That Glitters” the tune went on to top rated Billboard’s Incredibly hot 100 as a duet concerning Diamond and Streisand.

In 2011, Streisand launched an album of songs by the Bergmans, “What Issues Most.” A selection of Sinatra’s recordings of the Bergmans’ audio — such as “L.A. Is My Lady,” about his and the songwriters’ adopted dwelling — came out in 2019.

Marilyn Katz was born on Nov. 10, 1928, in Brooklyn, in the same hospital wherever Alan Bergman had been born a few several years earlier. Alan, 96, survives his wife, along with their daughter, Julie Bergman, and a granddaughter.

Marilyn researched songs in large college and acquired a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English at New York College. Immediately after breaking her shoulder in a slide in 1956, she arrived to Los Angeles, wherever her moms and dads experienced moved inevitably she landed a gig creating lyrics for composer Lew Spence, who launched her to Alan Bergman, with whom Spence also wrote. The pair married in 1958, Alan owning created “That Face” with Spence as an engagement existing.

The a few went on to compose the title track for Sinatra’s chart-topping “Nice ’n’ Easy” album.

The Bergmans met Streisand, whom they described as their muse, in the early 1960s following a live performance the singer gave at New York’s Bon Soir nightclub.

“As before long as she started out to sing, Marilyn began to cry,” Alan recalled in an job interview with The Situations in 2011. Backstage, Marilyn claimed she questioned the singer, “Do you know how wonderful you are?”

Stephen Sondheim is given a crystal sculpture from Barbra Streisand as Warren Beatty and Marilyn Bergman look on.

Marilyn Bergman, right, and Warren Beatty, still left, search on as Barbra Streisand offers a crystal sculpture to Stephen Sondheim during Hollywood Bowl tribute to Sondheim in 2005.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Instances)

In the ’70s the few wrote lyrics for the theme songs of Television set displays such as “Maude,” “Alice” and “Good Moments,” but they didn’t see that perform as considerably less deserving of their creativity than songs for the motion pictures. “Lady Godiva was a liberty rider / She didn’t care if the total environment seemed,” went “Maude’s” theme, memorably sung by Donny Hathaway.

“You have to arrive at for their music — they do not communicate down to you,” Lear, who produced “Maude,” told The Periods in 2008.

In 2009 Bergman retired as the initially woman president of the overall performance rights corporation ASCAP, a situation she held for 15 many years. She was also a founding member of the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee, which elevated revenue for Democratic political candidates. In 1993 she and her husband wrote content for President Clinton’s 1st inauguration.

“More than a person human being has explained to me that they were married to ‘What Are You Executing the Relaxation of Your Lifestyle?,’ broke up to ‘Where Do You Start?’ and divorced to ‘The Way We Ended up,’” Marilyn claimed in 2008. “That’s a wonderful accountability, being the soundtrack for people’s lives.”