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Amour and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Composer Michel Legrand Dead at 86

Celebrated French composer Michel Legrand, who wrote the scores for Jacques Demy’s movie musicals The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort as well as the 2002 Broadway musical Amour, has died. He was 86.

Legrand first came to prominence with his sweepingly romantic score to 1964’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, in which Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo found and lost love. He went on to compose the scores for movies as varied as The Thomas Crown Affair (which earned him an Academy Award for the song “Windmills of Your Mind) and Yentl, which brought him another Oscar. He ultimately won three Oscars, out of 13 nominations.

Though Cherbourg was adapted for the stage in 1979, Legrand didn’t write an original score for a Broadway musical until 2002’s Amour, starring Malcolm Gets and Melissa Errico. Though short-lived, Amour brought Legrand a Tony nomination and led to an album with Errico, Legrand Affair. With Herbert Kretzmer, he also wrote the score for 2008’s Margeurite, an adaptation of La Dame aux Camélias set in 1940s occupied Paris.

Beginning his career as an arranger and conductor for legendary French performers ranging from Edith Piaf to Maurice Chevalier and eventually working with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Barbra Streisand and Sting, Legrand was born February 24, 1932. He is survived by his wife.

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