R.I.P. Michel Legrand, prolific composer and uncle to Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, has died at 86

Michel Legrand, prolific French composer and uncle to Beach House singer Victoria Legrand, has died at the age of 86.

His management posted the news on Legrand’s Facebook page, writing, “This is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing away of our friend and artist Michel Legrand who left us peacefully this Saturday 26th January.

He changed the meaning of music in films with his sense of rhythm and his absolute passion for life. Goodbye to our dearest Michel Legrand, thank you for 21 years of friendship, partnership and music. Our thoughts are with his wife and family during this sad time…”

A jazz musician at heart, Legrand composed over 200 film and television scores in his career, working with legendary filmmakers and talent such as Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Brooks, Claude Lelouch, Clint Eastwood, Barbra Streisand, Robert Altman, and Joseph Losey.

He was nominated 13 times for an Academy Award and took home three, specifically one Best Original Song win for “The Windmills of Your Mind” from 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair and two Best Original Score wins for 1971’s Summer of ’42 and 1983’s Yentl.

What’s more, two of his five Grammy wins were for his aforementioned score to Summer of ’42 and the titular theme to the legendary 1972 television movie, Brian’s Song. His final score, however, was for last year’s lost Orson Welles film, The Other Side of the Wind.

In addition to film and television work, Legrand also served as conductor for multiple orchestras and recorded over 100 albums, featuring alongside legends such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Stan Getz, Stephane Grappelli, Bud Shank, et al.

Over the last 60 years, Legrand’s prolific work has been recorded by an eclectic list of artists, specifically Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Liza Minnelli, Sting, and Neil Diamond.

Legrand is survived by his third wife, Meril, and four children.

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