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Bruns was born in Sandy, Oregon and went to college at Oregon State University, graduating in 1936.
Among his work is the song "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" (which he co-wrote with Xavier Atencio), used in the Disney theme park attraction Pirates of the Caribbean and the movies based on that ride. He also co-wrote The Ballad of Davy Crockett with Thomas Blackburn, as well as the song "Love" for the Disney animated film Robin Hood (1973 film).
Bruns retired from Disney in 1976 and moved back to Sandy, Oregon. He taught part-time at Lewis & Clark College and continued to play and compose music, including recording at least one locally distributed album of jazz. He died of a heart attack on May 23 1983 in Portland, Oregon at age 68.
- George Bruns profile from the Oregon State University alumni association