The winner of five Oscars and four Grammys, English composer John Barry created a sensation in the 1960s with his music for the James Bond films, including his arrangement of the “James Bond Theme” for DR. NO and his original scores for such 007 classics as GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.
But Barry (a one-time rock ‘n’ roller with his band The John Barry Seven) was much more than the architect of the Bond sound. His choral-and-orchestral scores for such historical dramas as THE LION IN WINTER and MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, and his musicallly diverse scores for such other ’60s hits including THE KNACK, BORN FREE and MIDNIGHT COWBOY, demonstrated a versatility and willingness to tackle a variety of subjects.
He moved to the U.S. in the 1970s, scoring such landmark television projects as ELEANOR AND FRANKLIN and LOVE AMONG THE RUINS, but he remained in demand for films including BODY HEAT, THE COTTON CLUB and a growing number of romantic dramas including SOMEWHERE IN TIME and OUT OF AFRICA. His 1990 symphonic score for DANCES WITH WOLVES became his largest-scale work and won him the last of his five Oscars, more than any other British subject.
Barry was also active in the musical theater, working with Alan Jay Lerner on the controversial LOLITA MY LOVE and generating a massive West End hit in 1974 with his longtime lyricist partner Don Black on BILLY. He was named an O.B.E. in 1999 and died in January 2011.
— Jon Burlingame