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James Bond Composer John Barry Dies at 77

In addition to creating the memorable 007 theme, composer won three Oscars for his work

John Barry's music was an essential ingredient in the James Bond's success, and his scores for 11 films in the spy thriller franchise left 007 viewers shaken and stirred. 

Barry, the Academy Award winning composer who gave musical life to the famous spy, died in New York on Sunday at age 77. The cause was a heart attack. 

However, Barry's was not formally credited with providing the distinctive Bond theme.  Compositional credit was attributed to Monty Norman, though Barry implied that he had played a role in creating that unforgettable guitar riff. 

Among the Bond movies that boast Barry's lush soundtracks are "From Russia with Love," "You Only Live Twice," and "The Man with the Golden Gun." His final Bond film was 1987's "The Living Daylights."

But the English-born Barry had a career beyond James Bond. Barry won Oscars for his work on "Dances with Wolves," "Out of Africa" "The Lion in Winter" and "Born Free." 

Barry's swooning, soaring, heavily percussive scores perfectly lent themselves to period films with big emotions and vistas such as "Mary, Queen of Scots" and "Robin and Marian." However, he also memorably provided the music for more contemporary films that captured the sixties zeitgeist such as the gritty "Midnight Cowboy" and the zany "Petulia." 

Barry first got his start arranging music for jazz musicians before forming his own band The John Barry Seven. In addition to hit songs such as "Walk Don't Run," Barry's group begin providing music for television such as the BBC's "Drumbeat." 

Barry is survived by his wife Laurie of 33 years and his four children and five grandchildren. A private funeral will be held, but a memorial service will take place in Britain later this year. 



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