NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Friends and admirers of Marvin Hamlisch, including Bill Clinton and Ann-Margret, gathered Tuesday in New York City to bid farewell to the celebrated songwriter hailed as “the people’s composer.”

Clinton called Hamlisch, whose casket was covered in yellow flowers, a “great, giving genius.” Howard Stringer, head of Sony, called him “the merriest of minstrels.”

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WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

Hamlisch died Aug. 6 in Los Angeles at age 68.

Other guests included Liza Minnelli, ex-Yankee manager Joe Torre, Idina Menzel, Kelli O’Hara, Raul Esparza, Leslie Uggams, Richard Gere and Tony Danza.

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Hamlisch composed or arranged hundreds of scores for musicals and movies, including “A Chorus Line” on Broadway and the films “The Sting,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People” and “The Way We Were.”

The funeral began with a choir singing the Hamlisch classic, “The Way We Were,” and ended with “What I Did For Love,” WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

Hamlisch’s funeral was held at Congregation Emanu-El, a prominent synagogue where George Gershwin’s funeral was held in 1937.

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