Skip to main content Skip to footer site map


PBS has officially announced the broadcast premiere of the new documentary all about EGOT - Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards - recipient Marvin Hamlisch with the newly announced American Masters 2013 final entry MARVIN HAMLISCH: THE WAY HE WAS.

Featuring a starry assortment of talent including career collaborators such as Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Steven Soderbergh, Woody Allen, Brian D'Arcy James, Kelli O'Hara, Lucie Arnaz and more, the doc traces the legendary life of one of modern music's most remarkable men from his humble NYC borough roots through to international success in Hollywood with his hit scores for THE STING and THE WAY WE WERE, Broadway with A CHORUS LINE and THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG through to the resounding success of the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra on HBO this year and much more.

The American Masters presentation of MARVIN HAMLISCH: THE WAY HE WAS airs on December 27 on PBS.

The official press release is as follows:

"THIRTEEN's American Masters Series

and Dramatic Forces Co-Produce First Film Biography of Composer-Conductor Marvin Hamlisch

Featuring Exclusive Access to His Personal Archives

Season 27 Finale Marvin Hamlisch: The Way He Was (w.t.) Premieres Nationally Friday, December 27, 2013 on PBS (check local listings)

Tony-winner Dori Berinstein's documentary features new interviews with family, Barbra Streisand, Steven Soderbergh, Quincy Jones, Christopher Walken, Sir Tim Rice, Joe Torre, Woody Allen, John Lithgow, Lucie Arnaz,Ann-Margret, and others

Connect with other cultural icons at

Composer, conductor, genius, mensch: Marvin Hamlisch (June 2, 1944 - Aug. 6, 2012) earned four Grammys, four Emmys, three Oscars, three Golden Globes, a Tony Award, and a Pulitzer Prize before his untimely death, making him one of only two PEGOT winners ever. Hit after hit -- "The Way We Were," "Nobody Does It Better" and scores for The Sting, Sophie's Choice and the Broadway juggernaut A Chorus Line -- made him the go-to composer and performer for film, Broadway, every U.S. President since Reagan, and concert halls worldwide. With exclusive access to Hamlisch's personal archival treasure trove and complete cooperation from his family, Dramatic Forces and THIRTEEN's American Masters explore his prolific life and career in the series' Season 27 finale Marvin Hamlisch: The Way He Was (w.t.), premiering nationally Friday, December 27 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

In the first film biography about Hamlisch, award-winning filmmaker and four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Dori Berinstein (Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, Show Business: The Road To Broadway) presents a deeply personal, insider portrait of one of the greatest artists of our time. Candid new interviews with Hamlisch's family, friends and A-list collaborators include wife Terre Blair Hamlisch, Barbra Streisand, Steven Soderbergh, Quincy Jones, Christopher Walken, Sir Tim Rice, Joe Torre, Woody Allen, John Lithgow, Lucie Arnaz, Ann-Margret, Sir Howard Stringer, Kelli O'Hara, Brian D'Arcy James, Idina Menzel, Melissa Manchester, songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, and many others.

"Marvin Hamlisch was a consummate artist: gifted, creative, and personable. His music is part of the essential soundtrack to so many of our lives," said Susan Lacy, creator and executive producer of American Masters.

"Marvin's astounding musical genius was certainly breathtaking, but it was his irrepressible joy for life and his unending generosity that constantly had me in awe. What a tremendous honor and challenge to Capture the magic of this singular sensation," said Berinstein, who was friends with Hamlisch and collaborated with him on a new Broadway musical before his death. She is working to finish the musical, which will feature his final score.

A musical prodigy accepted to Juilliard at age six, Hamlisch defied classical expectations to create his own music, dedicating his talents to musical theatre and pop music composition. By age 31, he achieved unprecedented success and honors with a string of SMASH hits, and then his streak ended. Faced with overwhelming pressure and sky-high expectations to repeat his hits, Hamlisch fell into a self-described "period of suffocating despair," before rebounding to find true love worthy of a Broadway musical and renewed passion for creation. American Masters Marvin Hamlisch: The Way He Was (w.t.) reveals the events that led to both his staggering success and, ultimately, his even greater humanity: his creative process, struggles, inner turmoil, and breakthroughs.

Since its 1986 premiere, American Masters has earned 24 Emmy Awards - including eight for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series since 1999 and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special - 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, and two Producers Guild Awards. Now concluding its 27th season on PBS, the series is a production of THIRTEEN. WNET is the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York's public television stations, and operator of NJTV. For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.

To take American Masters beyond the television broadcast and further explore the themes, stories and personalities of masters past and present, the companion website ( offers streaming video of select films, interviews, essays, photographs, outtakes, and other resources. American Masters is also seen on the WORLD channel, a 24/7, full service multicast channel featuring public television's signature nonfiction documentary, science and news programming, broadcast in nearly two-thirds of the United States.

American Masters Marvin Hamlisch: The Way He Was (w.t.) is a production of Dramatic Forces and THIRTEEN's American Masters in association with WNET. Dori Berinstein is director, producer, and writer. Alan Deutsch and Jimmy O'Donnell are directors of photography. Penelope Falk is editor. Andrew Herwitz is executive producer. Susan Lacy is American Masters series creator and executive producer.

American Masters is a production of THIRTEEN. The series is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, Anne Ray Charitable Trust, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers."

So, are you excited to see this new career retrospective spotlighting one of Broadway and Hollywood's best and brightest tunesmiths?

Related Stories

From This Author - Pat Cerasaro