Marilyn Bergman teamed with husband Alan to forge one of the premier lyric-writing teams in contemporary film music, authoring a series of hit themes for movies including In the Heat of the Night, The Thomas Crown Affair, and The Way We Were. Born Marilyn Keith in New York City on November 10, 1929, she attended the High School of Music and Art before studying English and psychology at N.Y.U.; she married Alan in 1958 and three years later, the couple earned their first big-screen credit for their work on The Right Approach. 1967's In the Heat of the Night was the Bergmans' breakthrough; composed with Quincy Jones, the picture's familiar title theme was sung by the inimitable Ray Charles. The following year the couple teamed with composer Michel Legrand for The Thomas Crown Affair, notching an international smash with Noel Harrison's rendition of the film's "The Windmills of Your Mind"; the Bergmans subsequently enjoyed a lengthy collaboration with Legrand that also yielded such familiar favorites as "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" and "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" Arguably, their best-known effort is the title theme to the 1973 melodrama The Way We Were, written with Marvin Hamlisch; a number one pop hit for the movie's star, Barbra Streisand, the song also earned an Academy Award. After notching Emmys for their work on the television projects Queen of the Stardust Ballroom and Sybil, the Bergmans reunited with Hamlisch for 1978's Oscar-nominated "The Last Time I Felt Like This" from Same Time, Next Year; with Dave Grusin, the couple also penned the Tootsie theme "It Might Be You," a Top Ten hit for Stephen Bishop in 1982. A year later, they earned the Oscar for Best Original Score for their work on Streisand's Yentl; the Bergmans also earned Academy Award nominations for their contributions to 1989's Shirley Valentine and 1995's Sabrina. Marilyn Bergman died on January 8, 2022 after experiencing respiratory failure at her home in Los Angeles; she was 93 years old.
by Jason Ankeny