Leslie Bricusse, Songwriter Behind ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Willy Wonka’, Dies at 90

by Brianna Vacca
(Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Leslie Bricusse, the music legend behind “Goldfinger” and “Willy Wonka,” has sadly passed away at the age of 90.

Bricusse is a legend in the songwriting world for film. His extensive resume expands multiple generations. Bricusse’s penned various award-winning songs for iconic films such as “The Candy Man” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “What Kind of Fool Am I?” from Stop The World – I Want To Get Off, and “Talk To The Animals” from Doctor Doolittle. All of which are easily recognizable to this day. In addition, the composer has also written the lyrics for James Bond themes “Goldfinger” and “You Only Live Once.”

Bricusse possesses a vast musical repertoire as those are only a handful of the musician’s credits. His son shares in a post that his father passed away peacefully this morning and asks all to, “Please raise a glass for him.”

Actress Dame Joan Collins shares his condolences, “One 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. He and his beautiful Evie have been in my life for over 50 years. I will miss him terribly, as will his many friends.”

Neither indicated what Bricusse passed away from.

Bricusse’s Hit Collaborations

Leslie Bricusse is one of the best collaborators and songwriters of our time. Bricusse’s collaborated greatly with Anthony Newley, Sammy Davis Jr, John Barry, and Henry Mancini. His work has even earned the songwriter Oscar Awards for writing the score for “Victor/Victoria’ alongside Henry Mancini. “The Candy Man” received a nomination. “The Candy Man” from “Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was a hit song written for Sammy Davis Jr. Davis sang the song in 1972 and won a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

More credits include “Scrooge”, “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”, “Pickwick”, “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd”, “Jekyll & Hyde”, and more.

He’s the proud owner of another Oscar Award for “Talk To The Animals” by Doctor Doolittle. He’s won two Oscars Awards out of ten total nominations, one Grammy Award out of nine, eight Ivor Novello Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

His Work With Anthony Newley

Newley was one of the composer’s first collaborating partners as one of his first hits was “What Kind Of Fool Am I,” from Stop The World – I Want To Get Off. Newley recorded the song as well as Sammy Davis Jr who produced the most popular version of the song. The pair wrote together throughout the 1960s and the 1970s and went on to create six musicals.

Leslie Bricusse depicts a life worth living.