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Composer of James Bond theme, Monty Norman, dies at 94

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Posted at 11:01 AM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 16:47:20-04

LONDON  — The British composer who created one of the most famous musical movie intros in history has died.

According to a statement on his website, Monty Norman died Monday after a short illness.

He was 94.

Looking for a musical intro for the first James Bond film, "Dr. No," producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli hired Norman to compose a theme for the 1962 movie, the Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, Norman rearranged some parts around the musical piece he'd written for the proposed musical adaptation of V.S. Naipaul’s “A House for Mr. Biswas.”

Changing the key riff from sitar to electric guitar resulted in the now-infamous opening musical sequence that's been used in all 25 Bond films, the AP reported.

According to the news outlet, it's been widely assumed that John Barry, not Norman, wrote the theme.

Barry, who died in 2011, was hired by producers to rearrange the theme, and composed scores for several Bond movies, including "Goldfinger" and "You Only Live Twice," the AP reported.

To defend his credit as the composer, Norman went to court and sued the Sunday Times newspaper for libel over a 1997 article that identified Barry as the composer, according to the news outlet.

In 2001, Norman won the suit and was awarded 30,000 pounds in damages, the AP reported.