Michel Legrand facts for kids

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

24 February 1932 (1932-02-24) (age 87)
Bécon les Bruyères (Courbevoie), France
Occupation Film score composer
Jazz pianist
Years active 1954–present

Michel Legrand (24 February 1932 – 26 January 2019) was a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist.

Legrand is a well-known composer. He has written over 200 movie and television scores, as well as many memorable songs. He is best known for his movie music, such as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). The Thomas Crown Affair featured the song "The Windmills of Your Mind". Legrand won his first Academy Award for this song. He would win another Academy Award in 1971 for Summer of '42.

Early life

Legrand was born in Paris, district of Ménilmontant. His father Raymond Legrand was a conductor and composer renowned for hits such as Irma la douce, and his mother was Marcelle Ter-Mikaëlian (sister of conductor Jacques Hélian), who married Raymond Legrand in 1929. His maternal grandfather was of Armenian descent and was considered a member of the bourgeoisie.


Legrand composed more than two hundred film and television scores and several musicals and recorded over a hundred albums. He won three Oscars (out of 13 nominations) and five Grammys and was nominated for an Emmy. He was 22 when his first album, I Love Paris, became one of the best-selling instrumental albums ever released. He was a virtuoso jazz and classical pianist and an accomplished arranger and conductor who performs with orchestras all over the world.

He studied music at the Paris Conservatoire from 1943 to 1950 (ages 11–18), working with, among others, Nadia Boulanger, who also taught many other composers, including Aaron Copland, Philip Glass, and Ástor Piazzolla. Legrand graduated with top honors as both a composer and a pianist.


Legrand died in Paris, France, on 26 January 2019 at the age of 86.

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