Leslie Bricusse Dies: Oscar-Winning ‘Doctor Dolittle’, ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Willy Wonka’ Songwriter Was 90

Leslie Bricusse, the songwriter for film and stage whose extensive roster of hits and standards includes “The Candyman” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “Talk To The Animals” from Doctor Dolittle and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” from Stop the World-I Want to Get Off, died today. He was 90.

His death was announced today by son Adam Bricusse in a Facebook post. A cause of death was not specified.

“My Dearest Father passed away peacefully this morning,” Adam Bricusse wrote. “Please raise a glass for him.”

Known for his collaborations with Anthony Newley, Sammy Davis Jr., John Barry and Henry Mancini, Bricusse wrote or co-wrote such now-classic film or stage songs as “Goldfinger,” a hit for Shirley Bassey in 1964, and two hits sung by Davis including “The Candyman” (from 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and “What Kind Of Fool Am I?” (from 1961’s Broadway hit Stop the World – I Want to Get Off).

Bricusse won his first Oscar for 1968’s “Talk To The Animals” from Doctor Dolittle and, his second for co-writing with Henry Mancini the score for 1982’s Victor/Victoria, including that musical’s most popular song “Le Jazz Hot!”

A partial list of films with songs written or co-written by Bricusse also includes Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Scrooge (1970), Beyond the Rainbow (1978) and Hook (1991).

Broadway credits include such musicals as Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (1961), Pickwick (1963), The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd (1965), Jekyll & Hyde (1997) and stage adaptations of Victor / Victoria (1995) and Willy Wonka, retitled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2017).

Born in Pinner, North West London, Bricusse is survived by wife Evie and son Adam. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.


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