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R.I.P. Leslie Bricusse, songwriter behind "Goldfinger" and "Pure Imagination"

The Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist, who also wrote "Talk To The Animals," was 90.

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Leslie Bricusse
Leslie Bricusse
Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Pantages Theatre

Award-winning songwriter Leslie Bricusse, a man with a long show business career that includes working on the unforgettable soundtracks of Goldfinger and Willy & The Chocolate Factory, has died. That’s according to Variety, which says the news was confirmed by social media posts this morning from Joan Collins (a longtime friend of Bricusse’s) and his son, Adam. A cause of death has not been released. Bricusse was 90.

Bricusse was born in 1931 and studied at Cambridge, eventually becoming the president of the school’s famous Footlights acting club and founding its Musical Comedy Club. He also wrote his first two musical while in school, Out Of The Blue and Lady At The Wheel, with Variety noting that they were both performed in London’s West End in the ‘50s.

His highly acclaimed career of film work includes some of the most famous songs in movie history, with him having written or co-written the lyrics to “Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka as well as the theme songs for the James Bond movies Goldfinger (as performed by Shirley Bassey) and You Only Live Twice (performed by Nancy Sinatra)—two of the most iconic themes in a series of iconic themes. He also won an Academy award for composing and writing the lyrics to “Talk To The Animals” from 1967's Doctor Dolittle.


Bricusse was a frequent collaborator with Anthony Newley (with whom he wrote the musical Stop The World—I Want To Get Off as well as its Grammy-winning breakout song “What Kind Of Fool Am I?”), John Williams (he wrote the lyrics to Superman’s “Can You Read My Mind” as well as some of the songs from Hook), and Henry Mancini (they worked on Victor/Victoria, most notably “Le Jazz Hot,” which also won an Academy Award).

Bricusse is survived by his wife and son.