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Song and dance ends

© iStockphoto.com/Don Bayley

BRITISH entertainer Max Bygraves passed away on the Gold Coast last weekend following a two-year battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Mr Bygraves moved to the Tweed in the 1990s when he bought a property known as Attunga Park on the outskirts of Murwillumbah.

The popular singer, comedian, quiz show host, actor and variety performer was 89 when he died at his daughter Christine's home at Hope Island.

Mr Bygraves' son Anthony said: "I only saw dad two weeks ago. He became terribly frail but somehow I hoped he would see his 90th birthday.

"It is hard to imagine a world without him."

The first signs of Mr Bygraves' flair for entertainment came to the fore when he won a talent contest aged 13 and as an altar boy made his first public appearance singing at Westminster Cathedral.

When the Second World War broke out, Mr Bygraves volunteered for the RAF and served five years as a fitter.

After the war, Mr Bygraves auditioned at the BBC for a show for ex-servicemen.

Mr Bygraves sang, told jokes, did impersonations and got a job.

In 1946, Mr Bygraves turned professional and toured variety theatres throughout Britain.

Three years later he made his West End debut at the London Palladium and from then on there was no looking back.

Mr Bygraves became one of Britain's most loved entertainers in the 1950s on the club circuit.

He became a hit in the radio comedy, "Educating Archie" and starred in such movies as Charley Moon and Spare the Rod.

By 1956, Mr Bygraves was earning £1,000 per week, worth about £20,000 in today's money, making him one of Britain's highest paid entertainers.

Although he was married to wife Blossom for nearly 69 years, Mr Bygraves lost his family-friendly image in 1987 when he admitted fathering a son outside his marriage.

Similar revelations followed and in 2002 it emerged Mr Bygraves had in fact fathered three extra-marital children.

For several years, Mr Bygraves hosted the popular British television show Family Fortunes. When entertainer Les Dennis replaced him, Mr Dennis called him "a great performer and a gentleman". Receiving an OBE in 1983, he described himself as "just an ordinary cockney bloke who made it".

 

Highlights

 1942: Max Bygraves marries WAAF Sergeant Gladys "Blossom" Murray

 1949: Max Bygraves makes West End debut at London Palladium.

 1983: Max Bygraves recieves OBE and states "I'm just an ordinary cockney bloke who made it".

 His albums sold more than 6.5 million copies, earning 31 gold discs with his Singalongamax series of LPs, a cavalcade of yesterday's hits which were chosen with his mother's music tastes in mind.

 He emigrated from Bournemouth, Dorset, to Australia in 2005 with his wife, Gladys, who died last year.

 He leaves behind three children: Christine, Maxine and Anthony.

Topics:  death, max bygraves


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