Cilla Black, one of the most charismatic performers in Britain, died. She was 72. The cause of her death isn’t currently known. The talented singer-cum-TV host had a career that spanned 50 years.
Black, born as Priscilla White, had a very interesting beginning of her long career in the entertainment world. Born in Liverpool, northwest England, in 1943, Cilla worked in the cloakroom of the Cavern Club during her teenage years, where she would occasionally sing part-time, as well. Members of the Beatles, who were just about to gain cult status as a band, recognized Cilla had a great singer just waiting to be discovered and decided to sign her on.
The manager of the Beatles, Brian Epstein, wasted no time in securing the strong, distinctive, yet mellifluous voice of young Cilla Black, who went on to give such timeless hits like “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and “You’re My World” in 1964. Both the songs were an instant hit, climbing quickly to No. 1 spot in Britain, and even making it across the Atlantic to bust charts in America.
The famous and catchy theme tune for the 1966 film Alfie, composed by Bacharach-David, was sung by Cilla apart from several Beatles songs, including “The Long and Winding Road,” reported MSN.
Cilla Black quickly became a household named and hosted a BBC variety show, by her first name, Cilla. A natural TV host, her thick Liverpool accent was loved across the country. Her cheeky disposition in the early years earned her an anchor spot on matchmaking game show Blind Date (between 1985 and 2003), reported AJC. During the same time, she also hosted a heart-warming reunion program, Surprise Surprise. Summarizing the secret behind her immense public appeal and success, television executive Michael Grade had once said as follows.
“She always felt like a friend in your living room, on your TV screen.”
Paul McCartney expressed his condolences and said it was a shock to hear about Cilla Black’s death.
“She had a fine distinctive voice and was always a bit of a laugh. It was a privilege to know and love her.”
A big voice and an even bigger heart accorded Cilla Black the stardom that wasn’t marred by controversies. A much loved personality, Black was said to be one of the most cheerful persons on set and had one of the strongest and tireless work ethics.
I just heard the news Cilla black has left us she was a good friend we will all miss her peace to Cilla peace and love to the family R&B xxx
— Ringo Starr (@ringostarrmusic) August 2, 2015
Spanish police confirmed Cilla Black’s death happened at her home in Estepona, southern Spain. However, they haven’t offered any more details. Black’s spokesperson, Nick Fiveash, merely concurred and added that any more details would only be available after coroner completes his report. No foul play is suspected.
[Image Credit: Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images]