Jonathan Barry Prendergast was born on a Friday, November 3 1933.
Was the youngest among a sister (June) and two brothers.
Started as a 9 year-old on piano. Stopped public schools at 15, and worked as a projector in a movie theatre
(one of many own by his father, Jack Prendergast). At this time, he was already composing to the movies he showed.
Then he joined the army, in Egypt and Cyprus until 1955, where he also played music.
His brother Patrick is presumed deseased around 1985. That's probably why, the music for Out of Africa
got an extra sentimental/melancholy stamp. Barry also dedicated this score to Patrick.
His parents died with 16 weeks in between around 1980, where Barry was contracted to score the music for
Somewhere in time. This music also got a very sentimental stamp.
On Barry's own compilation Moviola, he conducts The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The album is dedicated to his latest wife Laurie Barry. Way back in 1966, he was married to actress Jane Birkin.
They got the daughter Kate in 1967. He also has two other daughters.
On November 3rd 1994, Laurie Barry (probably) brought John, his best birthday present ever. John's first son Jonpatrick.
His score for the 3D IMAX-film Across the Sea of time (1995), is dedicated to his son.
Barry's first soundtrack became a reality in 1960 for Beat Girl. It was a music-film, and Barry was right for the job,
because he - at that time - was a very popular rock/jazz-musician with The John Barry Seven, that was formed back in 1957.
He wrote yet a couple of minor scores, before the big breakthrough. Among them a score for a movie, starring Peter Sellers:
Never Let Go from 1960, and a movie called The Amorous Mr. Prawn from 1962.
In 1962 it happened. Barry was asked to arrange the title-tune for the very first James Bond-movie: Dr. No
based on Ian Fleming's novel. The used title theme is composed by John Barry, disregarding that Monty Norman
is still being credited for the theme, because of the old contract made in 1962. The disclosure came in 1990 by the late
Terence Young, the director of Dr. No. Barry got £200 for the job in 1962. He has to this date composed the music for
11 of the 19 officially made James Bond-movies (not counting Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again).
One of Barry's own favourites was The Lion in the Winter from 1968. He was also fond of Zulu, Somewhere in time,
Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves (The directors were equally pleased). But he was not that pleased with
Howard the Duck from 1986, and tried desperately to withdraw his material. He didn't succeed in this case.
He did succeed - in large measure - for The Golden Child also from 1986, where Barry also was hired.
Barry penned only music from some cues. He was also hired to score The Bodyguard from 1992,
but Alan Silvestri took over. We can only guess why, but I think Barry realised, that a score here
would be too much ignored by "The Soundtrack" with Whitney Houston.
Academy Award's (Oscar's):
John Barry has to this date won 5 Academy Award's (Oscar's):
BORN FREE from 1966.
(2 awards: Best Score & Best Song.)
THE LION IN WINTER from 1968
OUT OF AFRICA from 1985 and
DANCES WITH WOLVES from 1990
He has been nominated for 2 Academy Awards for:
MARY. QUEEN OF SCOTS from 1971 and
CHAPLIN from 1992.
My favorite music:
My personal favourite must be his first Academy Award-winner: Born Free from 1966. Although it is certainly not Barry's favourite.
That's because of his (lack of) relationship with the director James Hill. For one thing, Hill didn't agree, that Matt Monro
(the guy, who also sang From Russia With Love in 1963) should sing during the end credits. Barry got what he wanted,
AFTER the film was edited, thanks to the producer Carl Foreman. I'm also very thrilled about Out of Africa,
The Last Valley, Chaplin, Peggy Sue Got Married, Walkabout, Mike's Murder and Somewhere in time....
..... and all the rest.
In 1988 he was struck by a life threatening disease. It was due to a health drink he swallowed.
It was supposed to keep him healthy, but he had an adverse affect, and it almost killed him.
That's why he didn't composed again until 1990, where he won his fifth Oscar for Dances with Wolves.
He dedicated this score to 3 doctors; probably the 3, that made Barry healthy again.
Sunday the January 30th 2011, John Barry sadly died from a heart attack, may he rest in peace.
The latest CD-releases:
2005: Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (72) / Petulia (68), King Kong (76).
2007: The Last Valley (70).
2008: The Wrong Box (66), Boom! (68). Mary, Queen Of Scots (71), The Dove (74),
Robin And Marian (76), StarCrash (78).
2009: Follow Me (72), Hanover Street (79), The Golden Seal (83), Mike's Murder (84),
Until September (84).
2010: The Day Of The Locust (75), The Deep (77), High Road To China (83).
upcoming releases: ?
John Barry on DVD:
All John Barry-Bond-DVD's has now arrived in most of Europe (Region 2).
Many of them - has both music as a subject in their featurettes, and Barry appears briefly in short cuts.
He also speaks on many of the commentatory-track.
Write to John Barry's agency:
Mr. John Barry
c/o Kraft-Engel Management
15233 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Link to ordering sheet music:
Search for John Barry as a composer, not artist. Good luck.
Search for John Barry as an artist/composer. Good luck.
Thanks to: Geoff Leonard, Lax Madapati, Didier C. Deutsch, Ford A. Thaxton and "John".
Owner of this page (Last edited on January 31th 2011):
Web-master of The Danish Film Music Society.
Please read my other pages, in respect of composers:
Jerry Goldsmith, Rachel Portman and Howard Shore.