Leslie Bricusse

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, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, 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.

Leslie Bricusse
Born (1931-01-29) 29 January 1931 (age 90)
Pinner, Middlesex, UK
OriginLondon, England
Years active1952–present

Early life and educationEdit

Born in northwest London's suburb Pinner, Middlesex,[1][2] 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.[3]


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.[citation needed]

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).[citation needed]

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.[4] 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").[5] Bricusse partnered with George Tipton to write the opening theme of the US television series It's a Living.[citation needed]

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.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Bricusse resides in California and is married to actress Yvonne Romain.[7] They have a son, Adam.[7]







  1. ^ "Interview – triple threat writer Leslie Bricusse".
  2. ^ Smurthwaite, Nick (26 May 2011). "Leslie Bricusse: changing face of success | Features".
  3. ^ "Official site". LeslieBricusse.com. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Sammy Davis, Jr". The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard. 1988. Retrieved 22 September 2014 – via Superseventies.com.
  5. ^ "Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka". kennedy-center.org. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  6. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Mark Shenton's theatre picks: September 24". 24 September 2015. thestage.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  7. ^ a b Woodward, Clair."Leslie Bricusse and Yvonne Romain: Golden couple’s Hollywood greats" Express, 12 November 2007
  8. ^ "Stage productions". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Leslie Bricusse". IBDB.com. Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  10. ^ "Film Scores". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Stage listing". LeslieBricusse.com. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Wildhorn and Bricusse's 'CYRANO' Debuts at Tokyo's Nissay Theatre, Osaka Run, Tour to Follow". uk.broadwayworld.com. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  13. ^ Jones, Kenneth (29 July 2009). "A New 'Candy Man': Tony Nominee Babatundé Will Be Sammy in New Musical". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012.
  14. ^ "Song catalog". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "Awards and nominations list". songwritershalloffame.org. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Leslie Bricusse: Awards and Nominations". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 22 September 2014.

External linksEdit