Wednesday 20 November 2019

So long Chuck - you brought us a lorra, lorra laughs

Beatles pay tribute to the Cavern Club cloakroom girl who became a 1960s star

The legendary singer, broadcaster and entertainer Cilla Black, who died suddenly yesterday at her holiday home in Spain at the age of 72.
The legendary singer, broadcaster and entertainer Cilla Black, who died suddenly yesterday at her holiday home in Spain at the age of 72.
British pop singer Cilla Balck smiles with her fiance Bobby Willis, in Mayfair, London in 1969. Photo: AP
Cilla Black and Bobby Willis after their wedding in 1969
The singer rehearsing with Paul McCartney
The TV star at a photoshoot for ‘Blind Date’ in 2001

Alex Diaz and Elaine McCahill

The two surviving members of the Beatles have led the tributes to the icon of British pop culture Cilla Black, who has died suddenly.

The former pop star and television presenter, who lived in Estepona on the Costa del Sol, was 72.

Cilla - who suffered from hearing problems and arthritis - reportedly died overnight after flying to Spain with her son Robert.

Paul McCartney, who is in Los Angeles, said: "Such a shock to hear about Cilla's passing. She was a lovely girl who infected everyone with her great spirit.

"From first meeting her as a cloakroom girl at the Cavern in Liverpool, to seeing her many times since, she always had a fun-loving dignity that made her a great pleasure to be around.

"She had a fine distinctive voice and was always a bit of a laugh. It was a privilege to know and love her."

Ringo Starr said: "I just heard the news that Cilla Black has left us. She was a good friend and we will all miss her."

Cilla Black had spoken of how she would die happy if she were to pass away before any illness could rob her of being able to enjoy life.

As the much-loved star approached her 71st birthday last year, she said that 75 might be an okay age to die.

Read More: 'I could have been the girl next door,' said singing star 'chosen by television'

Read More: Showbiz legend Cilla Black dies aged 72

A successful singer in the 1960s, she was also well known as the presenter of the hit dating show 'Blind Date' and entertainment programme 'Surprise! Surprise'.

Among the Irish broadcasters to offer tributes was presenter turned designer Brendan Courtney, a co-host of hers on 'Blind Date'.

Courtney fronted the popular dating show in 2002 and 2003 and was on set the night when Cilla sensationally quit the show live on air.

"My first ITV gig was presenting the final two series of ITV's 'Blind Date' with the fabulous Cilla Black," he recalled.

"She was a delight - kind, playful and always fun. She always made a point of making me feel welcome.

"On the night that she resigned live on our only ever 'live broadcast' (and much to the total shock of the execs) I was with her in the lift on our way to the studio and she turned to me and said, 'I'm gonna really rattle some cages tonight, our kid, don't miss it.'"

Courtney thanked his former co-host for the "amazing memories and beautiful inspiration".

Cilla appeared on 'The Late Late Show' with Ryan Tubridy in 2009.

Speaking yesterday after news of her death, Tubridy recalled that the Liverpool-born entertainer "liked champagne and banter in equal measure".

He said: "I had the pleasure of interviewing Cilla Black on 'The Late Late Show'. She was a warm, charming and earthy lady, who liked champagne and banter in equal measure.

"As British pop culture goes, she was an icon and the era that she represented will be diminished by her passing."

Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne said Cilla had a "terrific career" and added that he was surprised to hear of her passing.

Irish Independent

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