Famed composer Marvin Hamlish shuffled off this mortal coil Monday at the age of 68, and while the Academy Award winner will be remembered by most sane persons for his role in the careers of Barbara Streisand and Liza Minelli, I’m instead gonna recall Marv as an unlikely thorn in the side of the philandering Steve Garvey. In August of 1986, Garvey’s estranged wife, Cyndy, told People Magazine’s James Grant of her “long distance relationship” with Hamlisch, as well as burying her first baseman ex with some very believable details.
My first real clue was when I tried to find Steve to help me sell our home. This was back in January 1982. And he was on a ski trip. So I called his office to speak to his secretary, and she was on a ski trip too. The seed was planted. Soon after that, I sold the house on my own, and I was clearing it out and I was crying. My housekeeper said, “Go to the office.” So I did.
I saw enough. I saw their lives on the walls. The two of them. There was nothing of me. There were directors’ chairs with their names on them. There was a fold-out bed. And then I saw her. She was sitting there. And she ran out of the office. I wouldn’t have known it was her, but she was so obvious. I’ve blocked it out, but I remember she had dark hair, and she was bigger than me. So I walked over to her desk, and I read the five-year planner there. I just started going backwards and saw “Stevie”—I never called him Stevie. “Stevie and me skiing, Stevie and me/new car, Stevie and me dinner.”
It was a crushing experience. And when I confronted Steve about how long this had been going on, at first he wouldn’t answer me. Then he said—I’m serious—it had started out that she was like his sister, and I said, “You don’t —— your sister.” He didn’t have any sisters. It was just all too rich. You see, I never went to the office. When you’re married to a guy like Steve, he does a lot of public things, and the phone was constantly ringing at home. So he got one of his charities to fund an office. I had no need to go there. I just didn’t know that the office, which was a quarter-mile from home, would be used for other purposes.
As for me, the humiliation never left. Just a few months ago I was at a local shop with my children, and the shopkeeper said, “Mrs. Garvey, you forgot your change.” I turned around, and a man was coming toward me I had never seen before. He said, “So you’re the bitch that left Steve Garvey.” I don’t think it was right that I took the rap for the breakup of our marriage. I want my girls to see me stand up for myself, now. And then let it go.