John Barry, Bond films' man with the golden musical touch, dies aged 77posted 2011-01-31 09:36:59 by tboz
The legendary Oscar-winning composer was best known for his scores for 11 James Bond adventures
John Barry, who composed the score for 11 James Bond films, has died aged 77.
Barry won five Oscars and was awarded an OBE in an illustrious career that saw him work on a number of other acclaimed film scores, including Born Free, Midnight Cowboy and Out of Africa. He died of a heart attack, having suffered from poor health for some time.
He was born in York as John Barry Prendergast, the son of a classical pianist mother and a father who owned a number of theatres and cinemas in Lancashire and Yorkshire. His earliest encounters with the world of film came from helping out his father at his cinemas.
Barry attended a Catholic convent school in York, which he said was bombed in early 1942, killing several of the nuns and some of his fellow pupils. When he was later required to do national service, Barry, who played the trumpet, joined the army band, where he learned to arrange music.
On leaving the army he first found fame with the John Barry Seven, a band he founded that went on to have a number of hits. He then started working on music for the movies and his career took off when he arranged Monty Norman's score for the first 007 film, Dr No. It led to Barry working on other films in the series, including Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.
While he will forever be associated with his Bond films oeuvre, he worked on many other scores and his Oscar wins were for Born Free (for best song and best score), The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves. Among the other notable films he worked on were The Ipcress File, Body Heat and The Cotton Club. He received the Bafta fellowship in 2005 in recognition of his services to film music.
Barry also worked on a number of television themes and later in his career released albums of his own music. He co-wrote a musical of the Graham Greene novel Brighton Rock, which opened in in 2004. His last film score was for Enigma, the 2001 film about second world war code-breakers.