b. 10 October 1898, London, England, d. 19 April 2003, England. After serving in the army during World War I, Leonard studied at the Guildhall School of Music. He played piano in shows at seaside resorts, leading a band at Eastbourne, Sussex. In the 30s, he toured the UK, but worked mostly in London, playing in pit bands at theatres and at clubs and hotels. It was as a composer that he became best known, writing more than 400 songs, piano pieces and light orchestral works over the decades, including ‘Life Can Be A Song’, ‘The Magic That Is Music’, ‘The Lone Fir Tree’, ‘True Devotion’, ‘Noonday Sun’ and ‘The Light Of The Sun’. He collaborated with several lyricists, including Dennis Breeze (‘Shelagh’), Julius E. Day (‘I Heard A Robin Singing’, ‘A Man’s Song’), Ronald Frankau (‘In The Depth Of My Heart’), Vivienne Jay (‘Whispering Dreams’), Clarkson Rose (‘My Love Is Only For You’), and Harold Simpson (‘The Clouds Are Horsemen’).
In the early 40s, Leonard became a staff arranger with the Laurence Wright publishing company where he remained until the end of the 60s. Although in his seventies, Leonard continued to write music and to perform. A remarkably durable individual, on medical advice he eventually cut back his gigs shortly before his 100th birthday. In 1999, he was awarded the Golden Badge by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters. He continued to play piano every Thursday lunchtime at the Plantation Café, Squire’s Garden Centre, Twickenham, near London, until he was 103.