Francis Lai, Oscar-winning 'Love Story' composer, dies at 86

PARIS – French composer Francis Lai, who won an Oscar for the iconic "Love Story" soundtrack, has died, France's Culture Ministry said Thursday. He was 86.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who led nationwide tributes to Lai, who died on Wednesday, said he hopes to name "an emblematic place of our city" after the self-taught music legend who was born there in 1932.

Writing to singers including Edith Piaf and Yves Montand.

It was after his meeting with the French New Wave director Claude Lelouch in the 1960s that Lai turned to the silver screen and produced his most famous work.

"He was a man of my life," Lelouch said in an interview with RTL radio.

"We made 35 films together and we had a love story that lasted 50 years," he added.

Lai wrote "A Man and a Woman" for the 1966 Academy Award-winning movie of the same name, It featured "dabadabada," the unforgettable musical jingle that launched myriad reprises on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lai's success culminated with his 1970 Academy Award for the score of "Love Story," one of the most enduring romantic movies of all time. Its main song "Where Do I Begin?" Produces household recognition even among those unfamiliar with the movie, thanks to Andy Williams and Shirley Bassey.

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