Academy Award-winning songwriter Leslie Bricusse has died at the age of 90. The musician worked on a dizzying number of film and theatre productions throughout his illustrious career.
You might not know his name, but Bricusse’s songs for film are some of the most instantly recognisable in cinema. His best-known works include ‘Pure Imagination’ from Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, as well as the James Bond themes for both Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice. The news of his death was confirmed via an Instagram post by the actress Joan Collins.
Collins posted a photograph of her and Bricusse together, writing: “One of the giant songwriters of our time, writer of Candyman Goldfinger amongst so many other hits, and my great friend Leslie Bricusse has sadly died today. He and his beautiful Evie have been in my life for over 50 years. I will miss him terribly, as will his many friends.” As of yet, his cause of death has not been revealed to the public.
Bricusse won numerous Acadamy Awards throughout his career, the first of which came in 1968 when he won Best Original Song for ‘Talk to the Animals’ from Doctor Doolittle. He went on to win Best Adaptation and Original Song Score in 1982 for Victor/Victoria, and in 1963 he received the Grammy Award for Song of the Year with ‘What Kind of Fool Am I’, for which he worked with frequent collaborator Anthony Newley
Bricusse worked with Newley on the score for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as well as the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd together. The show included the song ‘Feeling Good’, which was later performed by jazz singer Nina Simone for her 1965 album I Put A Spell On You. The song has since become one of the most beloved jazz standards of all time.
In the latter half of his career, Bricusse collaborated with John Williams, working with the composer on songs for films including Home Alone, Hook, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.