Michel Legrand, Oscar-winning film composer and pianist, whose memorable works included the score for the 1960s film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and the song “The Windmills of Your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair, died Saturday at his home in Paris, his publicist told Agence France-Presse. He was 86.
Legrand won three Academy Awards, five Grammys and two top awards at the Cannes Film Festival among other honors. Known for his haunting, often jazz-tinged scores, he received his first Oscar in 1968 for the song “The Windmills of Your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair. Sung by Noel Harrison in the film, the song was later recorded by Dusty Springfield and many others. That was followed by two more Oscars in 1971 and 1983 for best original scores, for Summer of ’42 and Yentl, respectively.
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In his film work, LeGrand has worked with directors including Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Brooks, Claude Lelouch, Clint Eastwood, Barbra Streisand, Robert Altman and Joseph Losey, among others. Legrand himself appears and performs in Agnès Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961). His most recent film score was The Other Side of the Wind, composed for Orson Welles’ last film, which was finally completed and released in 2018
Legrand’s five Grammy awards include Song of the Year in 1972 for “The Summer Knows” from Summer of ’42 with longtime collaborators, lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman. Legrand penned dozens of songs with the Bergmans, including the songs for Yentl in addition to “Windmills,” “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” and “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?”
The home page of his official website Saturday read “MICHEL LEGRAND Feb. 24, 1932-Jan. 26, 2019,” followed by photographs of Legrand with Barbara Streisand, Miles Davis, Yves Montand and others.
Legrand continued touring into his 80s, last performing just a month ago at the Paris Philharmonic, and was scheduled to give his next concert in February.
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