cover image The Way I Was

The Way I Was

Marvin Hamlisch. Scribner Book Company, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19327-4

Writing with freelancer Gardner, composer Hamlisch, now 45, sums up his life to date. Peppering his narrative with anecdotes about friends and colleagues such as Liza Minnelli, Groucho Marx, Ann-Margret and Michael Bennett, he describes his childhood with his Jewish Viennese immigrant parents who were determined to make him a classical musician, his 14 years studying at New York City's Juilliard School of Music and his determination to go into show business rather than onto the concert stage. He recalls his early jobs as a rehearsal pianist, his instant celebrity with three Oscar awards for The Way We Were , his highly successful scores for the movie The Sting and the Broadway show A Chorus Line , his marriage and his recent foray into symphonic music. Hamlisch's confession that he tends toward pessimism and anxiety and his assessments of his failures ( Smile and Jean , a musical about the life of Jean Seberg) as well as his account of three years of relative inactivity--during which Hamlisch realized that his successes had been at the expense of a satisfying personal life--add a bit of weight to this slight and sometimes amusing autobiography. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)