Composer Michel Legrand Dies at the Age of 86

Michel Legrand on stage on October 23, 2004 at the International Music Festival in Auxerre.

Composer Michel Legrand died at the age of 86. His career of more than 50 years has earned him a worldwide fame, and three Oscars for his film music.

The music composer Michel Legrand , famous creator of the themes of Jacques Demy’s films ” Les Parapluies de Cherbourg ” and ” Les Demoiselles de Rochefort “, died at night in Paris at the age of 86 , while he was preparing to return to the scene.

“He died at his house at 3am with his wife actress Macha Meril,” said his press officer to AFP .

Over the course of a career of more than 50 years that earned him a worldwide fame, this musician has worked with the greatest of Ray Charles Orson Welles, through Jean Cocteau, Frank Sinatra, Charles Trenet and Edith Piaf.

“Like some Hindu gods, Michael is a multiform being. One has the impression that no musical discipline resists him “, wrote the composer Stéphane Lerouge in foreword of the autobiography of Michel Legrand published in 2013.

“The day we take stock of his contribution to music, we discover a creator that France may be underestimated.”

Jacques Demy, his favorite accomplice

Initially accompanist and arranger for singers, Michel Legrand began composing film music in the 60s with the emergence of the New Wave, working for Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, and especially his favorite partner Jacques Demy .

In addition to the music of ” Les Parapluies de Cherbourg ” and ” Demoiselles de Rochefort, who launched the musical in the French, it is also that of “Peau d’âne”.

Video. The 3 Oscars composer Michel Legrand is dead:


“He saw everything in pink”

Michel Legrand had also returned to his work table to create additional music for a scenic version of “Peau d’âne”, which has been on view since November at the Marigny Theatre in Paris. The show is still showing until mid-February.

The composer was also scheduled to perform two concerts at the Grand Rex in Paris in April with his “friends” accordionist Richard Galliano, soprano Natalie Dessay, composer Michel Portal and guitarist Sylvain Luc

“For me, he is immortal, by his music and his personality”, reacted with the AFP the French composer and conductor Vladimir Cosma.

“He was such an optimistic personality, with a kind of naivety in optimism, he saw everything in pink!”

Michel Legrand, December 3, 1989 during a rehearsal for the show "Le Grand Echiquier" in the studios of Bry-sur-Marne
Michel Legrand, December 3, 1989 during a rehearsal for the show “Le Grand Echiquier” in the studios of Bry-sur-Marne. (© AFP / Archives / PIERRE VERDY)

Three Oscars won

In full glory, he decided to settle in the United States in 1966. “It’s a real risk to leave France, landing in Hollywood without real commitment,” he wrote in his autobiography, describing this step of “Russian roulette game”.

Henry Mancini, a great composer for the cinema, opens the doors of Hollywood and gives him the opportunity to write the music of “The Thomas Crown Affair”.

A winning bet: Michel Legrand had won three Oscars, for the song “Les moulins de mon cœur”, taken from the music of “The Thomas Crown Affair” in 1969, then for “Summer 42” (1972) and “Yentl “(1984).

Leave a Reply

Notify of