Sad news: Michel Legrand dies, at 86

The French composer, best known for his song ‘The Windmills of Your Mind’ from the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair, has died in Paris.

He won his first Oscar for best original song in this film, followed by two more for  Summer of ’42 (1971) and Yentl (1983).

The son of Raymond Legrand, a student of Gabriel Fauré who became a prolific film composer and wrote the soundtrack for Lacombe Lucien, Michel came to Hollywood’s attention in 1964 with the music for Jacques Demy’s film Les parapluies de Cherbourg.

He performed widely as a jazz pianist, attacked Boulez-driven modernism, took a keen interest in minimalism and recorded an album in his 80s with Natalie Dessay.


And a personal favourite:

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  • Ah, what a shame. I love Legrand’s music. “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life” – such a beautiful and touching song. R.I.P., maestro.
    An aside: although Legrand had nothing to do with it except to supply the music, “The Thomas Crown Affair” is a terrible movie. Simply awful. Barely watchable. Stiff acting, zero chemistry between McQueen and Dunaway. And who the heck chose the laughable Noel Harrison to sing “Windmills Of Your Mind”? Surely not Legrand….
    (I liked Jack Weston, though.)

    • “From a hollow to a cavern ” is just so English. The great Frenchman.,Michel Legrand knew this that’s why he, the great composer that he is, knew that quintessentially Brit Noel Harrison would deliver. Ps it’s a great film…great connectivity with both both actors. Jack Weston too.

  • Somebody referred to him as: “une fontaine de musique”. He was exactly that: the music-all kinds of music-just flowed out of him. Rest in peace.

  • What a loss! One after the other great songs and themes: Summer of ‘42 (title theme music went along perfectly with the very beautiful and heartbreaking Jennifer O’Neill) I Will Wait For You, What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life (sung to perfection by Barbra Streisand) all the songs from Yentl especially the beautiful Papa Can You Hear Me? And The Way He Makes Me Feel. Windmills Of My Mind is lovely as well in how he repeats the rhythm of the opening phrase with different notes and harmonies. May he Rest In Peace and keep writing and playing beautiful music up in heaven.

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