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Marvin Hamlisch Willed Oscars to His Wife Even if She Divorced Him

By James Fanelli | October 4, 2012 8:52am

NEW YORK CITY — Composer Marvin Hamlisch loved his wife so much that, even if she had left him before he died, he still wanted her to have his Oscars.

The wunderkind maestro who scored chart-topping pop songs and music for the stage and screen stipulated in his will that his wife, Terre Blair, should have his awards and his musical recordings, "regardless of whether we are married to each other or legally separated or divorced on the date of my death."

The couple, who were married in 1989, were still together when Hamlisch died at 68 on Aug. 6. By then he had accumulated enough awards — three Oscars, four Emmys, four Grammys, a Tony and a Pulitzer prize — to fill an orchestra pit.

Hamlisch also stipulated that, regardless of their marital status, Blair, a television broadcaster, should get the copyright and royalties to his 2002 musical "Sweet Smell of Success" and most of his estate, according to his will filed in Westchester Surrogate Court on Aug. 24.

The will, drafted in May 2011, sweetened the pot if Blair stuck by his side until the end. If they were married when he died, he stipulated that she receive all his copyrights, contract rights and intellectual property to his entire musical and literary library, which includes numbers in the Broadway smash "A Chorus Line" and songs for the James Bond franchise.

If Hamlisch wasn't married when he died or Blair didn't survive him, those artistic rights were to be split between the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation and his alma mater, The Juilliard School, which he attended as a 7-year-old whiz kid.

The will also ensures Hamlisch's dog, Abby, would remain one pampered pooch. If Blair didn't survive him, Hamlisch wanted his sister-in-law Charlotte Jones to keep the pet and gave her $20,000 to cover the cost of care.

Hamlisch had no children, but he wanted to look after his two nieces, Aubrey Jones and Jordan Lilly Jones. The will calls for trusts in their name, but they carry noteworthy caveats.

If the nieces are under 25, Hamlisch wants the trust to pay their tuition and board at a private high school that prepares students to attend elite colleges and universities. The trusts should also pay tuition at a "progressively minded liberal arts college in the Northeast" or an elite school like Stanford University or the University of California at Berkley, according to the will.

Hamlisch prohibits the trusts from paying for a niece to attend "a fundamentalist Christian or evangelical Christian" high school or college.

The will doesn't give the value of Hamlisch's estate at the time of his death, but says it is more than $500,000.

Hamlisch, who lived in Los Angeles and New York, died after a brief illness.

His will called for a closed-casket funeral and that there be no viewing of his body. The composer had a star-studded turnout during an Upper East Side funeral service in August. Attendees included Bill Clinton, Liza Minelli and Barbara Streisand, whom he collaborated with on the theme song"The Way We Were," which won him an Oscar.