It is with deep sadness that the Spirit Music Group family mourns the loss of beloved friend and music publishing client Marilyn Bergman. Marilyn was a legend — one of the all-time greatest lyricists. A true champion of creators. The contributions Marilyn made to the music community both through her songs and her advocacy will not be forgotten.
Marilyn Bergman, born and raised in Brooklyn, began her historic collaboration with husband Alan Bergman in the early ’60s, working with the late Lew Spence penning a series of hits for Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sarah Vaughan, and Peggy Lee, including such standards as “Nice ‘n’ Easy,” “That Face,” and “Sleep Warm.” A long association with Barbra Streisand from the ’70s onward yielded such classics as “The Way We Were,” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life,” “On My Way To You,” and “Ordinary Miracles,” including two songs on the singer’s global chart topping album, Love Is The Answer — “Where Do You Start” and “You Must Believe In Spring.” The Bergmans’ work with Quincy Jones for the 1967 Oscar-winning ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ marked the start of a lifetime of work in feature film, including key contributions to such acclaimed movies as ‘The Thomas Crown Affair,’ ‘Summer Of ’42,’ ‘The Way We Were,’ ‘Same Time Next Year,’ and ‘Yentl.’ Their long list of television credits include the theme songs for ‘Good Times,’ ‘Maude,’ and ‘Brooklyn Bridge,’ as well as the score for the acclaimed television drama, ‘Sybil.’
Among numerous accolades, the Bergmans won three Academy Awards, three Emmy Awards and two Grammys. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980 and received honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of Music and a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Songwriters in 1995. In 1997, they were awarded the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and, in 2000, the National Music Publishers Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Further, the Bergmans were honored in 2002 by the National Association of Recording, Arts & Sciences (NARAS) with the Governor’s Award and received the first ever Johnny Mercer Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
In addition to her success as a lyricist, Marilyn Bergman held a long and distinguished record of service to songwriters. After being the first woman elected to the Board of Directors of ASCAP, she was elevated to President and Chairman in 1994. During her 15-year tenure, she presided over the largest expansion of ASCAP membership in its history, led the performing rights organization to several major legislative victories, and was instrumental in the launch of A Bill Of Rights for Songwriters and Composers, an advocacy and awareness-building initiative designed to remind the music industry and the public at large of the rights of those who create music.
We send our deepest condolences to Alan and to the Bergman family and their loved ones—they are in our thoughts as they go through this difficult time.