Alan Bergman – He writes the songs

Alan Bergman (UNC Chapel Hill ‘46) and his wife Marilyn, who recently passed away, are among the most celebrated and prolific songwriting team of our time. They created a timeless chapter of the contemporary American songbook.

Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Joe Cocker, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and Sting have all recorded their songs. 

An award winning compilation of music

You may not know the Bergman name, but if you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you’ve definitely heard their music. The husband-and-wife team wrote irresistibly popular tunes together for 50 years.

They wrote for numerous movie, television, and stage productions and received numerous accolades during their long career, earning four Emmys, three Oscars, two Grammys and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 2013, Bergman did an interview with Good Day LA about the couple’s body of work.

The Hit Parade

The Bergmans developed a close personal relationship with Barbara Streisand who described them as “like family, as well as brilliant lyricists … We met over 60 years ago backstage at a little nightclub, and never stopped loving each other and working together.”

The Bergmans wrote the lyrics to “The Way We Were,” winning their second Oscar in 1974 with music by Marvin Hamlisch and vocals by Streisand.

“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” a duet sung by Streisand and Neil Diamond, reached number one on the Billboard charts in 1980.

In 1983, they received an unprecedented three of the five Oscar nominations for best original song and won for, “Up Where We Belong” from the movie An Officer and a Gentlemen

Billboard compiled and summarized their top ten works, which include Oscar winners, TV theme songs, and chart toppers. 

Pilam and beyond

This Pilam did his undergrad as a Tarheel at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He then became a UCLA Bruin to complete his Masters. 

It was in LA that he met his wife and partner. Coincidentally, they had both been born in the same hospital in New York.

Sadly, Alan’s wife and partner passed in January 2022. She said of their relationship, “respect, trust, all of that is necessary in a writing partnership, a business partnership or in a marriage.” 

Article written by Shawn Mahoney (Temple University, ’92)