James Bond theme composer Monty Norman dies aged 94

The composer who wrote the theme for the James Bond films has died at the age of 94.

A statement on his official website said: "It is with sadness we share the news that Monty Norman died on 11th July 2022 after a short illness."

He began his career singing in big bands before forging a career writing for musicals and films such as Songbook, Poppy and Make Me An Offer.

Norman then appeared on variety show line-ups alongside comedy acts including Tony Hancock and Spike Milligan.

He and comedian Benny Hill later took a joint variety show on the road, taking turns in the headline slot based on whether the town they were in preferred comedy or music.

Transitioning into composing, he wrote songs for Sir Cliff Richard and early rock and roller Sir Tommy Steele, and lyrics for stage shows like Make Me An Offer and Expresso Bongo.

But Norman is best known for scoring the first James Bond film, 1962's Dr No starring Sir Sean Connery, which included the famous theme which has recurred throughout the 24 subsequent films.

However, the producers were not happy with Norman's arrangement and drafted in a young John Barry to rearrange the piece.

Barry later claimed it was actually he who had written the theme, but Norman won a libel action against The Sunday Times for publishing a similar allegation.

He continued to work into the 1980s and beyond with Songbook in both the West End and Broadway winning Evening Standard, Olivier and Ivor Novello best musical awards.

That decade also saw his pantomime-style musical Poppy run for more than a year at the Barbican and Adelphi theatres in London and win a Swet - now the Olivier - for best musical.