Leslie Bricusse (born 29 January 1931) is an English composer, lyricist, and playwright, most prominently working in musicals and also film theme songs.
|Born||29 January 1931|
Bricusse was educated at University College School in London then Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he was Secretary of Footlights between 1952 and 1953 and Footlights President during the following year.
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 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.