Beebe Bourne, part of the legendary Bourne music publishing family, died Tuesday (Nov. 1) after a battle with cancer.
Bourne helmed the New York-based Bourne Co., one of the largest privately owned international music publishers with subsidiaries in Canada, France and the United Kingdom. Earlier this year she received the 2005 Abe Olman Publishers Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She was only the second woman to receive the award; the first was her mother, Bonnie Bourne.
“Beebe Bourne was the First Lady of music publishing,” says Irwin Robinson, chairman of the National Music Publishers’ Assn. (NMPA) and chairman/CEO of Famous Music Publishing. “Beebe had music publishing in her blood, and she did so much to promote the rights of music publishers and songwriters. Our condolences go out to the Bourne Music family.”
Bourne Co. was founded in 1919 by Beebe Bourne’s father, Saul, with Irving Berlin and Max Winslow. The company controlled publishing of such American classics as “Unforgettable,” “Me And My Shadow,” “When You Wish Upon A Star,” “Swinging On A Star” and “Black Magic Woman.”
Bourne served as president of the Music Publishers Assn., a member of the NMPA board and executive director of the New York chapter of the Assn. of Independent Music Publishers. In 2002 she received the Women in Music Touchstone Award given for Distinguished Service to the Music Industry
Before taking over the reins of the Bourne Co. from her mother in 1991, Bourne had held such diverse positions as president/COO of the THinc Consulting Group, CEO of Seversky Electronatom, and special assistant to the president of the United States.
“Beebe was a true lady of great poise and character,” says Gary Churgin, president/CEO of the Harry Fox Agency. “She was deeply supportive of HFA and of me personally, and her views on the concerns of the independent music publisher were invaluable. Our industry has lost one of its greats.”
Adds NMPA president/CEO David Israelite, “Beebe was the illustration of the word ‘class.’ She was respected by all who knew her, and she was also incredibly kind. I will miss her greatly.”
Visitation will be Thursday at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home in New York City. Services will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at St. Jean Baptiste in New York City. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bourne’s memory to the Lighthouse International Music School.