Monty Norman was a British film composer and singer who was known for composing the James Bond Theme. He died on 11 July 2022 due to a short illness.
Hair Colour: Grey
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Monty’s father’s name was Abraham Noserovitch, who was a cabinetmaker. His mother’s name was Annie, who used to sew clothes for people. He was the only child of his parents.
Wife & Children
Monty got married to actress Diana Coupland in 1956. They got divorced in 1975. They had one daughter, Shoshana Kitchen.
In 2000, he married Rina Caesari. He had two stepdaughters, Clea Griffin and Livia Griffiths.
Monty started his career with radio broadcasts. In the 1950s and early 1960s, Monty sang for famous celebrities like Cyril Stapleton, Stanley Black, Ted Heath, and Nat Temple. Before becoming a solo artist, he performed many double acts with comedian Benny Hill.
Later, he changed his track from singing to writing. The song ‘False Hearted Lover’ written by him gained international fame. In an interview, he said,
I had started to write songs and when one of them, False Hearted Lover, became reasonably successful I decided I would like to continue in that direction. My parents had misgivings but I was certain that was what I wanted to do.”
In the 1950s, he started composing songs and worked with performers including Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele, Count Basie, and Bob Hope. In 1962, Monty was hired by producer Albert Cubby Broccoli to compose a theme for Dr No, a James Bond film starring Sean Connery. He was busy with other projects and was about to say no to Broccoli when he and his partner Harry Saltzman asked Monty to come with them to Jamaica with his wife at the expense of the producers. In an interview, Monty talked about this and said,
Well, that was the clincher for me! I thought, even if Dr No turns out to be a stinker at least we’d have sun, sea and sand to show for it!”
Monty made the James Bond theme on the musical adaptation of the novel ‘A House for Mr Biswas.’ On his official website, Monty talked about the score and said,
We recognized we needed a fresh, contemporary sound for the main theme, and in the up-and-coming young John Barry we found a wonderful arranger, so the whole thing worked very well.”
Monty worked with big rockstars including Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele and wrote songs for them. He also composed music for stage shows including Make Me an Offer, Expresso Bongo, Songbook and Poppy.
He also wrote the music for movies including The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), Call Me Bwana (1963), and the TV miniseries Dickens of London (1976).
In 2001, Monty attracted controversy when his fellow man, John Barry, who arranged the theme of the James Bond series in 1962 made by Monty, claimed authorship of the theme. Monty sued the Sunday Times for stating that Monty was not the real composer. In 2001, when the court announced its decision, it awarded Monty with 30,000 pounds because he won the case. The Telegraph
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- In 1959, the musical Make Me An Offer won the Evening Standard Award for ‘Best Musical.’
- In 1961, he was nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award for best musical for the stage show Irma la Douce.
- In 1977, he won Ivor Novello Award for composing the James Bond Theme.
- In 1981, he was again nomiated for in 1961 for Broadway’s Tony Award for the best musical representation of the book The Moony Shapiro Songbook.
- In 1989, he received the Gold Badge of Merit for Services to British Music from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA).
On 11 July 2022, Monty died due to short illness. The official website expresses condolsence on his death and wrote,
- Monty was born to Jewish parents. When his father was young, he travelled from Latvia to England with Monty’s grandmother.
- During World War II, Monty left London, but he returned in 1940s. During this time, he contributed to national service in the RAF.
- His mother bought him his first guitar at the age of sixteen because the price of the guitar fell from £17 (Rs. 1352) to £15 (Rs. 1193). In an interview, he said that he kept this guitar with him for a long time. He further added,
I’ve still got that guitar – a 1930s Gibson. I never use it, but I keep it as a talisman. My mother and father never understood the profession I went on to choose but, bless ’em, they were wonderful and just let me get on with it.”
- In an interview, he said that he was introduced to music by the children of his landlady, who used to play popular songs at their house.
- Monty learned guitar from Bert Weedon, who was a popular guitarist.
- Monty used to attend prayers at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London.
- He was often spotted drinking on various occasions.