Biography

The son of French composer Raymond Legrand, Michel Legrand studied at the Paris Conservatory before launching a career as a singer/bandleader. A film composer from the late '50s, Legrand scored his first international hit with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), a fond throwback to the airy Rene Clair musicals of the '30s. Legrand's style was usually described as "haunting," with emphasis on minor-key orchestrations and liberal usage of violins. He won Academy Awards for his work on The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) (which yielded the hit song "Windmills of My Mind"), Summer of '42 (1972) and Barbra Streisand's Yentl (1983), which like Umbrellas of Cherbourg was virtually wall-to-wall music. Much of Legrand's subsequent work has been unremarkable, tending to rely upon what had been successful in his past compositions. In 1989, Michel Legrand made his film directing bow with the semi-autobiographical Five Days in June. Eleven years earlier, an interview between Michel Legrand and TV host Mike Douglas resulted in an Emmy for Douglas's daytime chatfest. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi