Bond theme composer Monty Norman dies aged 94 | Film
Monty Norman, composer of the instantly recognizable James Bond theme music, has died aged 94. A statement on its website said: “It is with sadness that we share the news that Monty Norman passed away on July 11, 2022 after a short illness.”
Norman’s most famous work was created as part of the score to the first Bond film, Dr No, released in 1962, and starring Sean Connery in the lead role. Norman said he based the distinctive rolling phrase, which first appeared as part of a medley in the film’s opening, on an earlier piece called Bad Sign, Good Sign, which he has created for a musical adaptation of A House for Mr Biswas by VS Naipul. A jazz arrangement by John Barry for the film has led to Barry often being misidentified as the composer; Norman has gone to court more than once, including winning a libel suit against the Sunday Times in 2001, to defend his credit.
Norman, born Monty Noserovitch in 1928, grew up as the son of Jewish immigrants in the East End of London and became the lead singer of many popular big bands in the 1950s and early 1960s. began writing songs for musicals in the late 1950s, contributing lyrics to Make Me an Offer, as well as music and lyrics to Wolf Mankowitz’s Expresso Bongo.
He also worked on the 1961 musical Belle, about the notorious Crippen murders, which led to him being asked by Bond producer “Cubby” Broccoli to provide the score for Dr. No. 1976 TV series London Dickens. Norman also returned to musicals, most notably Songbook in 1979, about a fictional songwriter from Liverpool called Mooney Shapiro, who made it to Broadway before returning to Britain in time for the 60s.
Norman was the first husband of actress Diana Coupland, best known for the 70s sitcom Bless This House, who died in 2006.