James Howard Bryant (June 2, 1929 – June 22, 2022) was an American singer, arranger and composer.[1] He is best known for providing the singing voice of Tony (played onscreen by Richard Beymer) in the 1961 film musical West Side Story.[2] While he received no screen credit, he states that Beymer was "a nice guy, and every time he did an interview he would mention my name."[2] He also sang for James Fox in the 1967 film musical Thoroughly Modern Millie,[2] and sang in "The Telephone Hour" number in Bye Bye Birdie. He also sang in the group that performed the theme song of the TV series Batman.[2]

Bryant was born in Birmingham, Alabama, United States,[1] and grew up in Tarrant, Alabama. He attended Birmingham Southern College and the Birmingham Conservatory of Music before receiving a Scholarship in Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.[1] He then moved to New York City in 1953,[1] where he worked as a background singer.[2] He later moved to Los Angeles and played bass[2] in the house band at Puccini's, a Beverly Hills restaurant owned by Frank Sinatra.[2]

His work as an orchestrator included the films Not with My Wife, You Don't!, Penelope and the television series Lost in Space.[2] He also composed music heard at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.[2] Bryant also scored the music for numerous radio and television commercials for clients such as Lone Star beer, Tecate, Chrysler Imports, and Toyota Motor Cars.[1]

Bryant died on June 22, 2022, at the age of 93.[3]

He was a friend of Jimmy Bryant, the famous guitar player,[citation needed] with whom he is often confused.

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 53. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Jimmy Bryant". Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2008-04-11. Citing Carlton, Bob (2002-07-12). "State native was 'ghost singer' in 'West Side Story'". Birmingham News.
  3. ^ "James H. Bryant". Legacy. Retrieved 11 August 2022.

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