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Leslie Bricusse
Born 29 January 1931 (1931-01-29) (age 90)
Pinner, Middlesex, UK
Origin London, England
Occupation(s)
Years active 1952–present

Leslie Bricusse (born 29 January 1931) is an English composer, lyricist, and playwright, most prominently working in musicals and also cinema theme music. He is best known for writing the music and lyrics for the films Doctor Dolittle, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Scrooge, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the songs "Goldfinger", "You Only Live Twice", "Can You Read My Mind (Love Theme)" (with John Williams) from Superman and "Le Jazz Hot!" with Henry Mancini from Victor/Victoria.

Early life and education

Born in northwest London's suburb Pinner, Middlesex, Bricusse was educated at University College School in London and then at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he was Secretary of Footlights between 1952 and 1953 and Footlights President during the following year.

Career

In the 1960s and 1970s, Bricusse enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Anthony Newley. They wrote the musical Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (1961) which was made into a film in 1966. Also in collaboration with Newley, Bricusse wrote The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd (1965) and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), based on the children's book by Roald Dahl, and for which they received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song Score. When he collaborated with Newley, the two men referred to themselves as the team of "Brickman and Newburg", with "Newburg" concentrating mainly on the music and "Brickman" on the lyrics. Ian Fraser often did their arrangements.

Working solely as a lyricist, he collaborated with composer Cyril Ornadel on Pickwick (1963), based on Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, a successful vehicle for Harry Secombe. Later collaborators included Henry Mancini (Victor/Victoria in 1982 and Tom and Jerry: The Movie in 1992) and John Williams (Hook in 1991). As composer and lyricist he scored the notorious box office film flop, Doctor Dolittle (1967), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Talk to the Animals"), and the less-successful Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969).

Sammy Davis Jr. had hits with two of Bricusse's songs, "What Kind of Fool Am I?" (from Stop the World - I Want to Get Off) and "The Candy Man" (from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory) which became a No. 1 hit. Other recording artists who have had popular success with his songs include Nina Simone ("Feeling Good"), Matt Monro and Frank Sinatra ("My Kind of Girl"), Shirley Bassey ("Goldfinger"), Harry Secombe ("If I Ruled the World"), Nancy Sinatra ("You Only Live Twice"), The Turtles ("A Guide for the Married Man"), Maureen McGovern ("Can You Read My Mind"), and Diana Krall ("When I Look in Your Eyes"). Bricusse partnered with George Tipton to write the opening theme of the US television series It's a Living.

Pure Imagination: The World of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, devised and directed by Bruce Kimmel, opened at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, California, on 7 December 2013. In 2015, it went to the St James Theatre, London.

Personal life

Bricusse resides in Monaco and is married to actress Yvonne Romain. They have a son, Adam.

Works

Musicals

  • Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (with Anthony Newley) (1961) – includes "Once in a Lifetime" and "What Kind of Fool Am I?"
  • Pickwick – with Cyril Ornadel (1963)
  • The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd (with Newley) (1965) – includes "Who Can I Turn to (When Nobody Needs Me)?" and "Feeling Good"
  • Doctor Dolittle (1967) – includes "Talk to the Animals"
  • Sweet November (with Newley)
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969)
  • Scrooge (with Ian Fraser; Herbert W. Spencer) (1970) – includes "Thank You Very Much"
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (with Newley) (1971)
  • Beyond the Rainbow (lyrics only) (1978)
  • The Good Old Bad Old Days (with Newley) (1974)
  • Peter Pan (television, with Newley) (1976)
  • Victor Victoria (film with Henry Mancini) (1982)
  • Babes in Toyland (1986 film) (with Newley) (1986)
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Musicalbook, music, and lyrics by Bricusse (1989)
  • Hook (with John Williams) (1991) – includes "When You're Alone"
  • Jekyll & Hyde (lyrics only) (1990/1994/1997)
  • Scrooge (1992 stage musical)
  • Victor/Victoria (1995 Broadway musical)
  • Doctor Dolittle (1998 stage musical)
  • Cyrano (2009, Tokyo, with Frank Wildhorn)
  • Sammy (2009) – Old Globe Theatre

Songs

  • "Out of Town" with Robin Beaumont (1956)
  • "My Kind of Girl" (1961)
  • "What Kind of Fool Am I?" with Anthony Newley (1963)
  • "Who Can I Turn To" with Anthony Newley (1964)
  • "Feeling Good" with Anthony Newley (1964)
  • "Goldfinger" (with John Barry and Anthony Newley) from Goldfinger (1964)
  • "A Guide for the Married Man" (with John Williams) from the film A Guide for the Married Man (1967)
  • "You Only Live Twice" (with Barry) from You Only Live Twice (1967)
  • "Two for the Road" (with Henry Mancini) from Two for the Road (1967)
  • "Talk to the Animals" from Doctor Dolittle (1967)
  • "Your Zowie Face" for film In Like Flint, music by Jerry Goldsmith (1967)
  • "Fill The World With Love" from Goodbye Mr. Chips (1968) originally sung by Petula Clark and also popularised by Richard Harris
  • "You and I" from Goodbye Mr. Chips (1968) sung by Petula Clark
  • "Thank You Very Much" from Scrooge (1970)
  • "Candy Man" and "Pure Imagination" (with Newley) from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • "Can You Read My Mind (Love Theme)" (with John Williams) from Superman (1978)
  • "Move Em Out" (with Henry Mancini) from Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
  • "Le Jazz Hot!" with Henry Mancini from Victor/Victoria (1982)
  • "Making Toys", "Every Christmas Eve/Santa's Theme (Giving)", "It's Christmas Again", "Patch! Natch!" and "Thank You, Santa!" (with Henry Mancini) from Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
  • "Life in a Looking Glass" (with Henry Mancini) from That's Life! (1986)
  • "Somewhere in My Memory" from Home Alone (with John Williams) (1990)
  • "When You're Alone", "We Don't Wanna Grow Up" from Hook (with John Williams) (1991)
  • "Christmas at Hogwarts" (with John Williams) in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  • "The Perfect Song" (with Andrew Lloyd Webber) for Michael Ball.

Awards

  • Academy Award
    • Best Original Song, 1968 – "Talk to the Animals"
    • Best Adaptation and Original Song Score, 1982 - Victor/Victoria
  • Grammy Award
  • Songwriters Hall of Fame
Nominations
  • Tony Award
    • Best Musical, 1963 – Stop the World – I Want to Get Off
    • Tony Award for Best Score, 1963 – "Stop the World – I Want to Get Off"
    • Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, 1963 – "Stop the World – I Want to Get Off"
    • Tony Award for Best Score of a Musical, 1965 – "The Roar of Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd"
    • Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, 1997 – "Jekyll & Hyde"
  • Academy Awards
  • Golden Raspberry Award
    • Worst 'Original' Song, 1986 – "Life in a Looking Glass"
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