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Cilla Black (The Musical Years) - A Tribute



Priscilla Maria Veronica White OBE (27 May 1943 ? 1 August 2015), known by her stage name Cilla Black, was an English singer, actress and entertainer. Championed by the Beatles, she began her career as a singer in 1963, and her singles "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (1964) and "You're My World" (1964) both reached number one. Black had eleven Top Ten hits on the British charts between 1964 and 1971. In May 2010 new research published by BBC Radio 2 showed that her version of "Anyone Who Had a Heart" was the UK's biggest selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. "You're My World" was also a modest hit in the US, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Along with a successful recording career in the 1960s and early 1970s, Black hosted her own eponymous variety show, Cilla, for the BBC between 1968 and 1976. After a brief time as a comedy actress in the mid-1970s, she became a prominent television presenter in the 1980s and 1990s, hosting hit entertainment shows such as Blind Date (1985?2003) and Surprise Surprise (1984?2001). In 2013 Black celebrated her 50 years in show business. British television network ITV honoured this milestone with a one-off entertainment special which aired on 16 October 2013. The show, called The One & Only Cilla Black, featured Black herself and was hosted by Paul O'Grady. Black was born in Liverpool, England, on 27 May 1943 and grew up in the Scotland Road area of the city. Her parents were John Patrick White (1904-1971) and Priscilla Blythen (1911-1996). Black had a Welsh grandfather, Joseph Henry Blythen (1883-1966), who was born in Wrexham, and Irish great-grandparents on her father's and mother's side of the family. She was raised in a Roman Catholic household, and attended St. Anthony's School, situated behind St. Anthony's Church in Scotland Road, and Anfield Commercial College, where she studied Shipping Management. Determined to become an entertainer, Black gained a part-time job as a cloakroom attendant at Liverpool's Cavern Club, best known for its connection with the Beatles. Her impromptu performances impressed the Beatles and others. She was encouraged to begin singing by a Liverpool promoter, Sam Leach, who booked her first gig at the Casanova Club, on London Road, where she appeared as "Swinging Cilla". Black became a guest singer with the Merseybeat bands Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes and, later, with the Big Three. Meanwhile, she worked as a waitress at the Zodiac coffee lounge, where she later met her future husband Bobby Willis. Black was featured in an article in the first edition of the local music newspaper Mersey Beat by the paper's publisher, Bill Harry, who mistakenly referred to her as Cilla Black. She liked the name more, and took it as her stage name. In 2014, Black was the subject of a three-part television drama series, Cilla, focusing especially on her rise to fame in 1960s Liverpool and her relationship with Bobby Willis. ITV aired the first instalment on 15 September 2014, starring BAFTA award-winning actress Sheridan Smith. Black was married to her manager, Bobby Willis, for more than 30 years until he died from lung cancer on 23 October 1999. They had three sons: Robert (born 1970, who became her manager), Ben (born 1974) and Jack (born 1980). Their daughter, Ellen (born 1975), was born prematurely and suffered lung complications, living for only two hours. Black died of natural causes at her holiday home near Estepona, Spain, on 1 August 2015, aged 72. Black had previously said that she wanted to die when she reached 75. According to a friend, she had recently said that she was approaching death, complaining of failing eyesight and hearing, and arthritis.

Posted by TeeVees Greatest on August 4, 2015 at 10:31 PM 984 Views

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