The singer and TV presenter enjoyed a career in showbiz lasting over 50 years.
Tributes are pouring in for British TV star and singer Cilla Black who has died at her Spanish home at the age of 72. The news of the 72 year old’s death was confirmed by her publicist Nick Fiveash, who said in a statement, ’It is with deep sorrow that I confirm today the passing of singer and TV personality Cilla Black. Details of her death will be announced following the coroner's report.’
Cilla Black has died aged 72.
Black was said to have travelled to the city of Marbella in the south of Spain where she owns a property, with one of her three sons a few days ago. When news of the star’s untimely passing broke a local police spokesman confirmed the death and added, ‘We are still awaiting autopsy results but everything at this stage is pointing towards her death being the result of natural causes.’
Born Pricilla White in Liverpool, her introduction into the showbiz world came when she worked as a cloakroom attendant Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club, where the Beatles regularly played. Changing her name to Cilla Black she was signed by The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein in 1963 after a successful audition.
Her second single, ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ became a number one hit in the UK in 1964 and the biggest-selling single by a female artist in the history of British pop music. The follow-up ‘You're My World’ was another number one hit and she would go on to enjoy 20 consecutive Top 40 hits on the British single and EP charts.
Black’s personality and charm allowed her to easily move from a successful music career to television where she would become a fixture in British homes for decades. In the 1970s she fronted her own BBC variety series ‘Cilla’, but it was on ITV that she’d find a home with long-running shows, ‘Surprise, Surprise’ and ‘Blind Date’.
Debuting in 1984, ‘Surprise Surprise’ ran until 2001 with Black as the host before Holly Willoughby took over. The show's premise involved members of the public being surprised with wishes, pranks and family reunions. A year after ‘Surprise Surprise’s’ debuted Cilla began hosting another light entertainment series for ITV, ‘Blind Date’ which would go on to run until 2003.
Black will also be remembered for her catchphrase ‘lorra, lorra laughs' as well as her quick wit and infectious laugh. Last year her life was dramatised in a three-part series on ITV titled ‘Cilla’, starring Sheridan Smith as Black. In 1997 she was awarded an OBE and in 2005 came the release of her autobiography What's It All About?, which went on to become a UK best seller. Black is survived by her three sons, Robert, Ben and Jack. Her husband Bobby Willis, whom she married in 1969 and had been her manager since 1967, died of cancer in 1999 at the age of 57.