I helped the Sixties swing and I’m very proud of that
Starting out as a cloakroom attendant in Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club Anyone Who Had a Heart singer Cilla Black burst onto the music scene in the 1960s and was a much-loved household name from the ready-steady-go.
Born Priscilla White, Cilla was the daughter of a Liverpool dockworker and loved to sing and dance from an early age. After her pals the Beatles drew their manager Brian Epstein’s attention to her, she became a Top 10 star. Audiences loved her upbeat girl-next-door personality and in 1968 she began fronting her very own TV show.
“I didn’t choose television. Television chose me,” she later said.
Cilla’s sweetheart Bobby Willis became her manager when Brian Epstein died. Cilla and Bobby wed in 1969 and were famously devoted until his death in 1999.
From the 1970s onwards, Cilla was one of Britain’s biggest TV personalities, hosting hugely popular shows including Surprise Surprise and Blind Date. She was awarded an OBE for her work in 1997 and signed off with a final “Ta-ra” to *Blind Date audiences in 2003.
Fans were shocked at the news that Cilla had died, following a fall at her holiday home in Spain. On the day of her funeral, thousands lined the streets of Liverpool to pay their respects as her cortege made its way to the church.
Since Cilla died, her music has again topped the UK album charts, while her legacy is celebrated in a hit musical, Cilla, based on an acclaimed TV series about her life.