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Prolific French movie composer Michel Legrand has died aged 86, his spokesperson said on Saturday. "It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing away of our friend and artist Michel Legrand," a statement on his Facebook page from his management company, City Lights, said. "He changed the meaning of music in films with his sense of rhythm and his absolute passion for life."
During a career spanning more than half a century, Legrand won three Oscars, five Grammys, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.
The first Academy Awards nominations came for the French films The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), which helped launch his international career.
The French government tweeted a tribute featuring some of Legrand's lyrics.
Michel Legrand (24 February 1932 - 26 January 2019) was a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and jazz pianist. Legrand was a prolific composer, having written over 200 film and television scores, in addition to many songs. His scores for the films of French New Wave director Jacques Demy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), earned Legrand his first Academy Award nominations. Legrand won his first Oscar for the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" from The Thomas
Crown Affair (1968).
Legrand was born in Paris. His father, Raymond Legrand, was a conductor and composer and his mother was Marcelle Ter-Mikaëlian, sister of conductor Jacques Hélian. They married in 1929. He is of Armenian descent.
Legrand composed more than two hundred film and television scores. He won three Oscars and five Grammys. He studied music at the Paris Conservatoire from age 11, working with, among others, Nadia Boulanger. Legrand graduated with top honors as both a composer and a pianist. His sister Christiane Legrand was a member of the Swingle Singers and his niece Victoria
Legrand is a member of the indie rock duo Beach House.
Legrand composed music for Jacques Demy's films The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1966), and appeared and performed in Agnès Varda's Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961). He also composed music for The Thomas
Crown Affair (1968) (which features "The Windmills of Your Mind"), The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (1970), The Go-Between (1971), Summer of '42 (1971), Orson
Welles's last-completed film F for Fake (1974) and would later compose the score for Welles's posthumously-released movie The Other Side of the Wind (2018). He also composed the score for Yentl (1983), as well as the film score for Louis Malle's film Atlantic City (1980). His instrumental version of the theme from Brian's Song charted 56th in 1972 on the Billboard's pop chart.
He died in Paris on 26 January 2019 at the age of 86, a month shy before his 87th birthday. He remained active until his death and had concerts scheduled to take place in the spring.
Legrand composed the score for the musical Amour, which premiered in 2002 on Broadway and was translated into English by Jeremy Sams and was directed by James
Lapine. This musical was his Broadway debut and he was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003 for Best Score. He would later record Legrand Affair with Melissa Errico, a 100-piece symphony that included songs with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
The world premiere of the new musical Marguerite from Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, the creators of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, included music by Michel Legrand and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Marguerite is set during World War II in occupied Paris, and was inspired by the romantic novel La Dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas, fils. It premiered in May 2008 at the Haymarket Theatre, London and was directed by Jonathan Kent.
1954 I Love Paris
1955 Holiday in Rome
1956 Castles in Spain
1957 Bonjour Paris
1957 C'est magnifique
1958 Legrand in Rio
1958 The Columbia Album of Cole Porter
1959 Paris Jazz Piano
1959 The New I Love Paris
1959 Legrand Jazz
On Fire (Philips Records)
1963 Michel Legrand Big Band Plays Richard Rodgers (Philips Records)
1964 Plays for Dancers (US release of Archi-Cordes)
1967 Violent Violins (UK release of Archi-Cordes)
1967 Cinema Legrand (MGM Records)
1968 At Shelly's Manne-Hole
1974 Twenty Songs of the Century
1980 Atlantic City
1983 After the Rain
1993 Michel Plays Legrand
1995 Michel Legrand Big Band
2002 Michel Legrand by Michel Legrand
2013 Entre elle et lui (with Natalie
With Stan Getz: Communications '72 (Verve, 1972)
With Lena Horne: Lena & Michel (RCA, 1975)
With Bud Shank: Windmills of Your Mind (Pacific Jazz, 1969)
Vaughan with Michel Legrand (Atlantic, 1972)