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Songwriter-producer Leslie Bricusse (1931-2021)


jakeem
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The British songwriter and producer Leslie Bricusse, known for his creation of popular songs for stage and screen productions, died Tuesday at the age of 90.

His death in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France was announced on Instagram by his longtime friend, Dame Joan Collins -- the actress who once was married to Bricusse's frequent collaborator Anthony Newley (1931-1999). Collins called Bricusse “one of the giant songwriters of our time.”

The cause of death was not mentioned. 

Bricusse was nominated for 10 Academy Awards (winning twice), nine Grammys (with one win) and four Tonys,

He and Newley were inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1989.

Briscusse is survived by his wife, the actress Yvonne "Evie" Romain, their son Adam and several grandchildren.

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At the fifth Annual Grammy Awards, held on May 15, 1963, Bricusse and Newley won Song of the Year honors for "What Kind of Fool Am I?" -- one of their songs from the 1962 stage musical "Stop The World - I Want To Get Off." They were the first Brits to win the songwriting Grammy.

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Bricusse and Newley's song "Feeling Good" -- from their 1964 stage musical " The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd" -- became a celebrated 1965 recording by Nina Simone -- and a favorite song for numerous "American Idol" hopefuls through the years.

Bricusse, Newley and composer John Barry co-created "Goldfinger," the theme for the 1964 James Bond thriller starring Sir Sean Connery. It was the first of three Bond themes performed by Dame Shirley Bassey, and it became the Welsh singer's signature song.  In a 2004 American Film Institute survey of the Top 100 movie songs of all time, "Goldfinger" came in at No. 53. 

Three years later, Bricusse and Barry created the title theme for another 007 film. "You Only Live Twice" was performed by Nancy Sinatra, and it became a No. 3 hit on Billboard's adult contemporary chart.

Bricusse's first Academy Award win was for the 1967 song "Talk to the Animals" from "Doctor Dolittle." Sir Rex Harrison, who played the title character in the film based on Hugh Lofting's children's books, performed the tune in the picture. A year later, the Best Original Song Oscar went to "The Windmills of Your Mind" by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman from "The Thomas Crown Affair." That song was performed in the movie by Noel Harrison, Sir Rex's son -- giving the Harrison family an unprecedented, back-to-back achievement.

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Bricusse's Oscar was accepted by Sammy Davis. Jr. (pictured below with presenter Barbra Streisand) who earlier performed "Talk to the Animals" during the 1968 Oscar telecast. Davis included many Bricusse-Newley songs in his repertoire.

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The 1969 musical remake of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" -- which starred Peter O'Toole and Petula Clark -- earned Bricusse and John Williams an Academy Award nomination for Best Score of a Musical Picture. Among the numbers performed in the production were "What a Lot of Flowers" and "Fill the World with Love." The two songs were recorded by actor Richard Harris --O'Toole's longtime friend and sometime drinking companion -- and included in his 1970 LP "The Richard Harris Love Album."

Bricusse spearheaded the production of "Scrooge," the 1970 musical version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" that starred Albert Finney in the title role. Bricusse served as the movie's executive producer, adapted the movie's screenplay and provided compositions for the music score. Directed by Ronald Neame ("The Poseidon Adventure"), the production received four Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Terence Marsh, Robert Cartwright and Pamela Cornell), Best Costume Design (Margaret Furse), Best Original Song ("Thank You Very Much" by Bricusse) and Best Music, Original Song Score (Bricusse, Ian Fraser and Herbert W. Spencer).

 
The beloved 1971 fantasy film "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" -- it's being remade for the second time -- featured an Oscar- nominated score by Bricusse, Newley and Walter Scharf. The movie's star, Gene Wilder, performed the song "Pure Imagination."  Another song, "The Candy Man," was later recorded by Sammy Davis, Jr., and it became his only No. 1 hit song.
 
 
Bricusse reteamed with John Williams for the memorable flying sequence in 1978's blockbuster hit "Superman," Bricusse wrote the lyrics for "Can You Read My Mind?" -- recited by Margot Kidder, the actress who played Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve as The Man of Steel.
 
 
Bricusse and another music great, Henry Mancini, won their final Academy Awards for "Victor/Victoria," the 1982 musical comedy starring Dame Julie Andrews as a struggling British coloratura soprano named Victoria Grant who became the toast of Paris by posing as a singing female impersonator named Victor. In effect, that made her a woman posing as a man posing as a woman. The songwriters shared the award for Best Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score.
 

 

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My heart is aching today because one of the loves of my life is gone. Leslie Bricusse was my friend for more than fifty years - years filled with warm embraces, a strong shoulder & a guiding hand. Sending love to Evie, Adam & all of their friends tonight. May God treat him well.
 
 

yaOlvfak_bigger.jpg

RIP Leslie Bricusse, 90. Songwriter extraordinaire, and a delightful man. Penned many of the greatest movie lyrics incl Bond themes from Goldfinger & You Only Live Twice, and had one of the great showbusiness marriages to his beloved Evie for more than 60 years.
 
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RIP Leslie Bricusse. My next door neighbor for many years. Wrote lyrics for so many memorable songs. Love to Evie and the family.
 
Songwriters around the world mourning the loss of the great Leslie Bricusse, creator of hit shows, hit records, many immortal standards. Music's Candy Man who ruled his world with charm and modesty. RIP.
 
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What a comprehensive tribute, JAKEEM--   good job!   This is what I love about TCM forums.

I never realized Bricusse co-wrote "What Kind of Fool Am I?"  with Anthony Newley, nor so many of the other interesting facets of his lengthy career that you bring out.   Fascinating. 

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I forgot that Newley & Bricusse had done Victor/Victoria.  I knew Bricusse had done the lyrics for for some other John Williams lyric songs besides Superman, but was too lazy to check IMDb.

And although Mr. Quilp, aka The Old Curiosity Shop is still on my bucket list of "lost" movies, when I tracked down the old 70's Mia Farrow TV musical of "Peter Pan", I always thought somebody was finally doing the old Leonard Bernstein musical.  Nope--A new Newley & Bricusse version:

 

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1 hour ago, lilypond said:

What a comprehensive tribute, JAKEEM--   good job!   This is what I love about TCM forums.

I never realized Bricusse co-wrote "What Kind of Fool Am I?"  with Anthony Newley, nor so many of the other interesting facets of his lengthy career that you bring out.   Fascinating. 

Thank you so much!  I learned about Bricusse's contributions thanks to Sammy Davis, Jr. I couldn't find his performance of "Talk to the Animals" at the 1968 Oscars, but here's a version he did on ABC's 1960s variety show "The Hollywood Palace."

 

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

I forgot that Newley & Bricusse had done Victor/Victoria.  I knew Bricusse had done the lyrics for for some other John Williams lyric songs besides Superman, but was too lazy to check IMDb.

And although Mr. Quilp, aka The Old Curiosity Shop is still on my bucket list of "lost" movies, when I tracked down the old 70's Mia Farrow TV musical of "Peter Pan", I always thought somebody was finally doing the old Leonard Bernstein musical.  Nope--A new Newley & Bricusse version:

As far as I can tell, Newley had nothing to do with "Victor/Victoria." It was strictly a Mancini-Bricusse production. The movie's showstopping song was "Le Jazz Hot!," which also was used in the 1996 Broadway version of "Victor/Victoria." Unfortunately, the stage musical always will be remembered because of a Tony Awards flap. Dame Julie Andrews was the only person nominated for the production, and she declined it in a show of solidarity. She still needs a Tony for EGOT status.

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And next to Anthony Newley, Sammy Davis Jr was the main performer of "Stop the World-- I Want To Get Off." That's why he became associated with  those numbers like, "What Kind of Fool Am I?" Sammy did a Broadway revival in 1978, along with a national tour.

The failure of the musical "Goodbye, Mr Chips" buried so much of the great music that Bricusse had written for the film. One particularly beautiful song "You and I", was recorded by Shirley Bassey and became part of her repertoire.

Richard Harris also recorded a number of these songs.

 

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On 10/20/2021 at 4:59 AM, jakeem said:

The British songwriter and producer Leslie Bricusse, known for his creation of popular songs for stage and screen productions, died Tuesday at the age of 90.

His death in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France was announced on Instagram by his longtime friend, Dame Joan Collins -- the actress who once was married to Bricusse's frequent collaborator Anthony Newley (1931-1999). Collins called Bricusse “one of the giant songwriters of our time.”

The cause of death was not mentioned. 

Bricusse was nominated for 10 Academy Awards (winning twice), nine Grammys (with one win) and four Tonys,

He and Newley were inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1989.

Briscusse is survived by his wife, the actress Yvonne "Evie" Romain and their son Adam.

See the source image

At the fifth Annual Grammy Awards, held on May 15, 1963, Bricusse and Newley won Song of the Year honors for "What Kind of Fool Am I?" -- one of their songs from the 1962 stage musical "Stop The World - I Want To Get Off." They were the first Brits to win the songwriting Grammy.

See the source image

Bricusse and Newley's song "Feeling Good" -- from their 1964 stage musical " The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd" -- became a celebrated 1965 recording by Nina Simone -- and a favorite song for numerous "American Idol" hopefuls through the years.

Bricusse, Newley and composer John Barry co-created "Goldfinger," the theme for the 1964 James Bond thriller starring Sir Sean Connery. It was the first of three Bond themes performed by Dame Shirley Bassey, and it became the Welsh singer's signature song.  In a 2004 American Film Institute survey of the Top 100 movie songs of all time, "Goldfinger" came in at No. 53. 

Three years later, Bricusse and Barry created the title theme for another 007 film. "You Only Live Twice" was performed by Nancy Sinatra, and it became a No. 3 hit on Billboard's adult contemporary chart.

Bricusse's first Academy Award win was for the 1967 song "Talk to the Animals" from "Doctor Dolittle." Sir Rex Harrison, who played the title character in the film based on Hugh Lofting's children's books, performed the tune in the picture. A year later, the Best Original Song Oscar went to "The Windmills of Your Mind" by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman from "The Thomas Crown Affair." That song was performed in the movie by Noel Harrison, Sir Rex's son -- giving the Harrison family an unprecedented, back-to-back achievement.

See the source image

Bricusse's Oscar was accepted by Sammy Davis. Jr. (pictured below with presenter Barbra Streisand) who earlier performed "Talk to the Animals" during the 1968 Oscar telecast. Davis included many Bricusse-Newley songs in his repertoire.

See the source image

The 1969 musical remake of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" -- which starred Peter O'Toole and Petula Clark -- earned Bricusse and John Williams an Academy Award nomination for Best Score of a Musical Picture. Among the numbers performed in the production were "What a Lot of Flowers" and "Fill the World with Love." The two songs were recorded by actor Richard Harris --O'Toole's longtime friend and sometime drinking companion -- and included in his 1970 LP "The Richard Harris Love Album."

Bricusse spearheaded the production of "Scrooge," the 1970 musical version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" that starred Albert Finney in the title role. Bricusse served as the movie's executive producer, adapted the movie's screenplay and provided compositions for the music score. Directed by Ronald Neame ("The Poseidon Adventure"), the production received four Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Terence Marsh, Robert Cartwright and Pamela Cornell), Best Costume Design (Margaret Furse), Best Original Song ("Thank You Very Much" by Bricusse) and Best Music, Original Song Score (Bricusse, Ian Fraser and Herbert W. Spencer).

 
The beloved 1971 fantasy film "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" -- it's being remade for the second time -- featured an Oscar- nominated score by Bricusse, Newley and Walter Scharf. The movie's star, Gene Wilder, performed the song "Pure Imagination."  Another song, "The Candy Man," was later recorded by Sammy Davis, Jr., and it became his only No. 1 hit song.
 
 
Bricusse reteamed with John Williams for the memorable flying sequence in 1978's blockbuster hit "Superman," Bricusse wrote the lyrics for "Can You Read My Mind?" -- recited by Margot Kidder, the actress who played Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve as The Man of Steel.
 
 
Bricusse and another music great, Henry Mancini, won their final Academy Awards for "Victor/Victoria," the 1982 musical comedy starring Dame Julie Andrews as a struggling British coloratura soprano named Victoria Grant who became the toast of Paris by posing as a singing female impersonator named Victor. In effect, that made her a woman posing as a man posing as a woman. The songwriters shared the award for Best Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score.
 

 

g8H3ZRuq_bigger.jpg

My heart is aching today because one of the loves of my life is gone. Leslie Bricusse was my friend for more than fifty years - years filled with warm embraces, a strong shoulder & a guiding hand. Sending love to Evie, Adam & all of their friends tonight. May God treat him well.
 
 

yaOlvfak_bigger.jpg

RIP Leslie Bricusse, 90. Songwriter extraordinaire, and a delightful man. Penned many of the greatest movie lyrics incl Bond themes from Goldfinger & You Only Live Twice, and had one of the great showbusiness marriages to his beloved Evie for more than 60 years.
 
Image
 
 

Pgjnyav-_bigger.jpg

RIP Leslie Bricusse. My next door neighbor for many years. Wrote lyrics for so many memorable songs. Love to Evie and the family.
 

Thank You. Memorable Sound

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There are so many great songs that he did.  I had actually suggested trying to get him for the festival - but of course, that was before COVID.   I liked all of his James Bond stuff and what he did for Anthony Newley.  But I think one of my favorites is from the musical Scrooge (1970) with Albert Finney entitled "Happiness"   and "You"  -  He was just so talented as a lyricist.  Just can't find his like these days !

 You --- You .... You 

 

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I'm so glad that Princess of Tap mentioned the lovely "You and I" from GOODBYE MR. CHIPS.

STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF had the wonderful "What Kind of Fool Am I?" and "Gonna Build a Mountain" and the much-imitated "Once in a Lifetime."

THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT--THE SMELL OF THE CROWD is the unusual flop musical--at least it ran six months on Broadway, but was a complete bomb in England--with no fewer than four songs which are still sung today: "Feeling Good," "A Wonderful Day Like Today," "The Joker," and "Who Can I Turn To?"

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10 hours ago, King Rat said:

I'm so glad that Princess of Tap mentioned the lovely "You and I" from GOODBYE MR. CHIPS.

STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF had the wonderful "What Kind of Fool Am I?" and "Gonna Build a Mountain" and the much-imitated "Once in a Lifetime."

THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT--THE SMELL OF THE CROWD is the unusual flop musical--at least it ran six months on Broadway, but was a complete bomb in England--with no fewer than four songs which are still sung today: "Feeling Good," "A Wonderful Day Like Today," "The Joker," and "Who Can I Turn To?"

"Who Can I Turn To?" is one of the best and most recorded songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

When it came out, it had as many covers by professional singers as "What Kind of Fool Am I?".  Just like that number, it's a difficult one to sing, so average pop singers don't even try it. But it's been in Shirley Bassey's repertoire for decades.

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