Born: 24 February 1932
Birthplace: Paris, France
Best known as: The French film composer who scored The Thomas Crown Affair
Michel Legrand is a French musician, singer and composer who's best known for his movie scores, including the Oscar-winning song "The Windmills of Your Mind" from the 1968 Steve McQueen movie The Thomas Crown Affair. The son of composer Raymond Legrand, Michel was a musical prodigy who spent nearly half his young life at the Paris Conservatory (1942-49) before taking to the stage as an accompanying pianist for Maurice Chevalier and others. During the 1950s Michel Legrand made classical, pop and jazz albums, recording with stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Frankie Laine and Miles Davis. He recorded English versions of French classics on I Love Paris (1954) and became a star in both countries. Legrand also began scoring movies for France's New Wave movement, teaming several times with Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Demy. During the 1960s and '70s Legrand worked in both France and the U.S., making a name for himself in the movies with Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, starring Catherine Deneuve), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, with McQueen and Faye Dunaway), Summer of '42 (1971, his second Oscar) and Brian's Song (1971, starring James Caan). He won another Oscar for the music to Barbra Streisand's Yentl (1983). Michel Legrand has done music for more than 200 films and recorded more than 100 albums and is a 13-time Oscar nominee. His other film scores include Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962); Band of Outsiders (1964); Ice Station Zebra (1968); Lady Sings the Blues (1972); The Other Side of Midnight (1977); Atlantic City (1980); Best Friends (1982); and Pret-a-Porter (1994).
Michel Legrand has collaborated several times with songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman; they got joint Oscar nominations for The Happy Ending (1969), Pieces of Dreams (1970), Best Friends (1982) and Yentl (1983).
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