James Bond composer John Barry dies aged 77

Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:46am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - British composer John Barry, best known for providing the soundtrack to the James Bond films and winner of five Academy Awards, has died. He was 77.

"It is with great sadness that the family of composer John Barry announce his passing on January 30, 2011 in New York," his family said in a statement released by Bond production company EON Productions.

"Mr. Barry is survived by his wife Laurie of 33 years and his four children and five grandchildren."

A private funeral will be held, with a memorial service to follow in Britain later in the year.

No cause of death was given but the BBC reported he died of a heart attack.

Barry scored 11 Bond movies, starting with "From Russia With Love" in 1963. According to EON, he was also brought in to arrange music already provided for "Dr. No" (1962), the first picture in the blockbuster series.

Fellow musicians paid tribute to Barry's influence.

"I think James Bond would have been far less cool without John Barry holding his hand," Bond composer David Arnold told BBC Radio.   Continued...

<p>British composer John Barry holds his Fellowship award at the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards at the Odeon Leicester Square cinema in London in this February 12, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Matthew Dunham/Files</p>