The decorated French musician and composer behind film scores like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1965) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) Michel Legrand died at the age of 86, as confirmed by fellow music producer Claire de Castellane who was in charge of his recent solo concerts.
“He last performed on stage just last month [at the Paris Philharmonic], and was still composing and practicing piano an hour a day even as fatigue increasingly forced him to economize his energy,” said de Castellane, “He wrote very elaborate music, but for a regular audience.”
With over 200 film and television scores & songs to his name, Legrand collected numerous accolades including three Academy Awards – two for Original Score, namely Summer of ’42 (1971) and Yentl (1983), and for the song “The Windmills of Your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair.
Throughout his career Legrand was able to work with a number of prolific musicians such as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Sting, and was an inspiration to the French musical scene (especially in the cinemas). Legrand continued touring into his 80s and was scheduled to give his next concert in February.
Legrand had a rich and rigorous musical education having graduated from the Paris Conservatoire with top honors, but made sure to create music for ordinary people. “He was not afraid of death, he talked about it. He said it made him nervous… but it didn’t frighten him, it was a very beautiful way to say good-bye,” added de Castellane.
Story from AP (another version was posted on Manila Bulletin Entertainment)