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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bretton Byrd
Born30 November 1904
Ramsgate, Kent, England
Died27 September 1959(1959-09-27) (aged 54)
Harrow, Middlesex, England
Other namesJames Thomas Bird
Occupation(s)Composer, musician
Years active1932 – 1956 (film)

Bretton Byrd (30 November 1904 – 27 September 1959) was a British composer and musician known for his work on film scores between 1932 and 1956. Born in Ramsgate, Kent, his real name was James Thomas Bird.[1]

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Byrd was largely self-taught as a singer and pianist, and made his living as a performer from the age of 16. This led to work as conductor and composer for travelling revues and pantomimes around the UK. He accompanied Hetty King, Harry Jolson (brother of Al) and other variety acts.[1]

After an introduction to Louis Levy in 1930 he was employed by British Gaumont, then the largest British production company. He began writing scores for films such as It's Love Again (1936).[2] Byrd worked for the company's musical department both as a composer and arranger. After leaving British Gaumont, he was employed by a variety of other production companies including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., RKO Radio, and Twentieth Century.[1]

In the 1950s also worked in television, as the musical director for Douglas Fairbanks' series of 160 television films, for 35 of which he also composed the music. He was also the musical director for the Monte Cristo and Charlie Chan series.

Selected filmography


  1. ^ a b c Hantley, John. British film Music (1947), pp. 198-9
  2. ^ Mundy, John. The British Musical Film (2007), p. 68

External links

This page was last edited on 30 January 2024, at 16:03
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