Michel Legrand
Legrand in 2015 at the Cabourg Film Festival
Michel Jean Legrand

(1932-02-24)24 February 1932
Paris, France
Died26 January 2019(2019-01-26) (aged 86)
Occupation(s)Film score composer
Jazz pianist
Years active1946–2019

Michel Jean Legrand (French pronunciation: [miʃɛl ləɡʁɑ̃]; 24 February 1932 – 26 January 2019) was a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and jazz pianist.[1] Legrand was a prolific composer, having written over 200 film and television scores, in addition to many songs.[2] His scores for two of the films of French New Wave director Jacques Demy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), earned Legrand his first Academy Award nominations. Legrand won his first Oscar for the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968),[3] and additional Oscars for Summer of '42 (1971) and Barbra Streisand's Yentl (1983).

Life and career

Legrand was born in Paris[4] to his father, Raymond Legrand, who was himself a conductor and composer,[5] and his mother, Marcelle Ter-Mikaëlian, who was the sister of conductor Jacques Hélian.[6] Raymond and Marcelle were married in 1929.[6] His maternal grandfather was Armenian.[7]

Legrand composed more than two hundred film and television scores.[8] He won three Oscars[9] and five Grammys.[10] He studied music at the Conservatoire de Paris from age 11, working with, among others, Nadia Boulanger[10] and graduated with top honors as both a composer and a pianist.[8] He burst upon the international music scene at 22 when his album I Love Paris (album) became a surprise hit. He established his name in the United States by working with such jazz stars as Miles Davis and Stan Getz.[1] His sister Christiane Legrand was a member of The Swingle Singers and his niece Victoria Legrand is a member of the dream pop band Beach House.[11]

Legrand composed music for Jacques Demy's films The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), and appeared and performed in Agnès Varda's Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961). He also composed music for Joseph Losey's Eva (1962), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) (which features "The Windmills of Your Mind"), Ice Station Zebra (1968), The Picasso Summer (1969), The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (1970), The Go-Between (1971), Summer of '42 (1971), Clint Eastwood's Breezy (1973), The Three Musketeers (1973), Orson Welles's last-completed film F for Fake (1974), TriStar Pictures 1998 family film Madeline, and would later compose the score for Welles's posthumously released movie The Other Side of the Wind (2018). He also composed the score for Yentl (1983), as well as the film score for Louis Malle's film Atlantic City (1980). His instrumental version of the theme from Brian's Song charted 56th in 1972 on the Billboard's pop chart.[12]

Legrand in 2008

Legrand died of sepsis,[13][14] during the night of 25–26 January 2019, at the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine, where he had been hospitalized for two weeks for a pulmonary infection. His funeral was held in Paris at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral on 1 February 2019.[15] He was interred at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.[16] He remained active until his death and had concerts scheduled to take place in the spring.[17]

Musical theatre

In 1997, Legrand composed the score for the musical Le Passe-muraille, with a book by Didier Van Cauwelaert. It premiered on Broadway in 2002 as Amour and was translated into English by Jeremy Sams and was directed by James Lapine.[18] This musical was his Broadway debut[19] and he was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003 for Best Score.[20] Later he recorded Legrand Affair with Melissa Errico,[20] a 100-piece symphony orchestra that included songs with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman.[21]

The world premiere of the new musical Marguerite from Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, the creators of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, included music by Michel Legrand and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Marguerite is set during World War II in occupied Paris, and was inspired by the romantic novel La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils. It premiered in May 2008 at the Haymarket Theatre, London and was directed by Jonathan Kent.[22]


Main article: Michel Legrand discography


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Michel Legrand" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Legrand won three Oscars (from 13 nominations), five Grammys, and was nominated for an Emmy. His first Academy Award win was in 1969 for the song "The Windmills of Your Mind", followed with the Academy Award for his music for Summer of ’42 in 1972 and for Yentl in 1984.[9]

Following are a selection of the awards and nominations with which Legrand's works have been honored:

Academy Award awards and nominations

Source: AllMovie[23]

Golden Globe awards and nominations

Source: All Movie[23]

Grammy Award awards and nominations

Source: Grammy.com[29]

Theatre nominations

Emmy Award nominations

Fennecus nominations

Apex nominations

Australian Film Institute Award

Prix Moliere Award


Golden Eagle Award



"Michel Legrand, let the music play", directed by Gregory Monro in 2018


  1. ^ a b "Oscar-crowned French composer Michel Legrand dies at 86". The Hindu. Reuters. 26 January 2019. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  2. ^ Chinen, Nate (10 March 2007). "Music in Review; Michel Legrand". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Michel Legrand". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 13 June 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Windmills of Your Mind writer Legrand dies". Bbc.com. 26 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Oscar-crowned French composer Michel Legrand dies at 86". Reuters.com. 26 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Tributes to Michel Legrand mark the composer's passing". Rte.ie. 26 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Oscar-winning 'Umbrellas of Cherbourg' composer Legrand dies". Ctvnews.ca. 26 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand dies aged 86 | DW | 26.01.2019". Deutsche Welle.
  9. ^ a b "Michel Legrand, Oscar-winning composer, dies aged 86". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 26 January 2019.
  10. ^ a b Burlingame, Jon (26 January 2019). "Michel Legrand, Oscar-Winning Composer, Dies at 86". Variety.
  11. ^ "Band of the Week: Beach House". Archived from the original on 7 June 2008.
  12. ^ Anderson, John (26 January 2019). "Michel Legrand, Pianist and Film Composer, Dies at 86". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Mort de Michel Legrand: Le compositeur était hospitalisé, son état s'est « subitement dégradé". La Voix du Nord.fr (in French). 28 January 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Michel Legrand : Macha Méril raconte en larmes les derniers instants de son mari (VIDEO)". programme-tv.net. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  15. ^ ICI.Radio-Canada.ca, Zone Arts-. "Les funérailles de Michel Legrand seront célébrées vendredi à Paris". Radio-Canada.ca.
  16. ^ "Stars flock to funeral of legendary film composer Legrand". The Jakarta Post.
  17. ^ "Michel Legrand, Oscar-winning composer, dies aged 86". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 26 January 2019.
  18. ^ "THEATER REVIEW; A French Milquetoast's Talent Lights the Fuse of Mischief". The New York Times. 21 October 2002.
  19. ^ "Opening Night of Legrand's Amour". Broadway.com.
  20. ^ a b Peikert, Mark (26 January 2019). "Amour and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Composer Michel Legrand Dead at 86". Playbill.com.
  21. ^ Gans, Andrew (18 October 2011). "It's a 'Legrand Affair' for Melissa Errico: New CD Due in Stores Oct. 18; Plus EXCLUSIVE Video". Tlaybill.com. Archived from the original on 19 August 2013.
  22. ^ "New Musical From 'Les Miz' Team". The New York Times. 10 July 2007.
  23. ^ a b "Legrand Awards", AllMovie.com, retrieved 30 January 2019
  24. ^ a b "1965 Academy Awards", Infoplease.com, retrieved 29 January 2019
  25. ^ a b c "1968 Academy Awards", Infoplease.com, retrieved 29 January 2019
  26. ^ "'Pieces of Dreams' Awards", Tcm.com, retrieved 30 January 2019
  27. ^ a b " 'The Thomas Crown Affair' Golden Globe Winners and Nominees", Goldenglobes.com, retrieved 30 January 2019
  28. ^ a b " 'Yentl' Golden Globe Winners and Nominees" goldenglobes.com, retrieved 30 January 2019
  29. ^ "Michel Legrand Grammy wards", Grammy.com, retrieved 29 January 2019
  30. ^ "With Michel Legrand - Sarah Vaughan - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  31. ^ "Other Grammy Nominees" Los Angeles Times, 10 January 1991
  32. ^ Staff. "Grammy Nominations List, page 3" Variety, 5 January 1999
  33. ^ a b Amour Playbill (vault), retrieved 29 January 2019
  34. ^ "34th Emmy Awards-Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Limited Series or Special (Dramatic Underscore) - 1982", Emmys.com, retrieved 29 January 2019
  35. ^ " 'Dingo' Miscellaneous Notes", Tcm.com, retrieved 30 January 2019
  36. ^ fr:Le Passe-muraille
  37. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "Review, 'Amour'", Curtainup.com, 24 October 2002
  38. ^ "Awards List", Legrandofficial.com
  39. ^ "ASCAP Henry Mancini Award", Ascap.com, retrieved 30 January 2019
  40. ^ MPC · JPL The International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center (31201) Michellegrand = 1998 AT5 = 1999 KZ20 - Discovered at Caussols on 1998-01-08 by ODAS.