Leslie Bricusse, the acclaimed songwriter, composer and screenwriter with hundreds of credits to his name, has died at the age of 90. No cause of death has been announced.
His son, Adam Bricusse, announced the news on Tuesday morning in a Facebook post, writing, “My Dearest Father passed away peacefully this morning. Please raise a glass for him.”
“Sleep in peace when the day is done,” he added, referencing one of Bricusse’s most recognizable tunes, “Feeling Good,” made famous by Nina Simone. Adam Bricusse also included the hashtag “#pureimagination,” a nod to his father’s contributions to the “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” soundtrack.
Born Jan. 29, 1931, in London, Bricusse’s prolific career began in 1956, when he penned the screenplay and lyrics for the musical movie “Charley Moon.” In the late ’50s and early ’60s, Bricusse teamed up with longtime songwriting partner Anthony Newley, with whom he wrote the 1961 musical “Stop The World – I Want To Get Off.” Ten years later, they reunited for “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971), the Gene Wilder-starring adaptation of Roald Dahl’s popular children’s novel.
He is credited for writing “Willy Wonka’s” most memorable songs, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man” and “(I’ve Got A) Golden Ticket.”
Bricusse and Newley also collaborated on “Goldfinger,” the theme song from the 1967 James Bond film “You Only Live Twice.” He enjoyed fruitful collaborations with the likes of Sammy Davis, Jr., Henry Mancini, John Williams and John Barry as well.
Among his many accolades, Bricusse was nominated for nine Oscars and won twice. He took home the statue for “Best Original Song” for “Talk To The Animals” from “Dr. Doolittle” (1967), for which he also wrote the screenplay. In 1983, he and Mancini won for their musical work on “Victor Victoria.”
Bricusse’s massive catalogue spans films but also musicals; “Scrooge,” “Hook” and “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” are some of his most notable additions to the medium.
In 2015, he presented a musical revue of his works called “Pure Imagination: The Songs of Leslie Bricusse,” which included more than 1,000 songs. That year, he also released “Pure Imagination!: A Sorta Biography.”
Many of Bricusse’s collaborators and admirers took to social media on Tuesday to mourn his death.
“One of the giant songwriters of our time, writer of #candyman #goldfinger amongst so many other hits, and my great friend Leslie Bricusse has sadly died today,” Dame Joan Collins wrote on Instagram. “He and his beautiful Evie have been in my life for over 50 years. I will miss him terribly, as will his many friends.”
Actor and director Samuel West said on Twitter, “Leslie Bricusse has left the stage. An Oscar for Talk to the Animals, the lyrics to Goldfinger and many, many more.”
Author and comedian David Walliams shared a photo of himself and Bricusse with the caption, “A fond farewell to the my friend the legendary songwriter Leslie Bricusse. He wrote some of the most famous songs of the 20th Century.”
See those tributes below.
Leslie Bricusse has left the stage. An Oscar for Talk to the Animals, the lyrics to Goldfinger and many, many more.
I'm sorry I can't find the Mike Flowers Pops version of Candyman to post alongside this sad news, because it's a banger https://t.co/LshyIUx5fy
— Samuel West
(@exitthelemming) October 19, 2021
‘A fond farewell to the my friend the legendary songwriter Leslie Bricusse. He wrote some of the most famous songs of the 20th Century – Goldfinger, Feeling Good, You Only Live Twice, Pure Imagination, The Candy Man, Talk to the Animals, My Kind of Girl, What Kind of Fool Am I?’ pic.twitter.com/JqDSjK5M45
— David Walliams HQ (@davidwalliams) October 19, 2021