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Kathy Kirby
1938 - 2011

KATHY KIRBY.spacerKathy Kirby was born Kathleen O'Rourke on the 20th October 1938 in Ilford, Essex. Her singing career started soon after leaving school when, following a meeting with the bandleader Bert Ambrose at the Ilford Palais, she managed to secure a job singing with his orchestra. It was no mean feat for a girl of such tender years as the Ambrose orchestra, with hundreds of recordings under its belt, once laid claim to being Britain's best hotel band of the thirties and had enjoyed audiences that regularly included royalty.

She stayed with the Ambrose orchestra for three years before going on to perform with many other big bands of the fifties, but never lost touch with Bert Ambrose whom she admired, and who remained her manager until his death in 1971.

Kathy became the highest paid girl singer of the sixties with several hit singles. However today she is probably best remembered for her rendition of the Doris Day song 'Secret Love' with which she made the UK Top 5 in 1963. That same year she went on to become the Top British Female Singer in the New Musical Express poll. In 1964, along with other massive names of the day like the Bachelors, Cilla Black, Brenda Lee, Millicent Martin, and Cliff Richard and The Shadows, she appeared in the Royal Variety Show at the London Palladium. Introduced by David Jacobs, she made a spectacular entrance in a top of the range sports car via the theatre's famous revolving stage, and the following year she represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest where with 'I Belong' she was the runner-up to Luxembourg's France Gall who sang 'Poupée de cire, poupée de son' (Wax doll, bran doll).

During the 1970s, following the death of her manager, Kathy's fortunes plummeted, and in more ways than one. Suffering personal bankruptcy and health problems, she made very few further professional appearances, and in the early 80s she retired altogether from show business. Today Kathy Kirby lives a life hidden from the public eye in Kensington, London.

Rumours abound that Kathy Kirby is to be the subject of a stage musical in London's West End. She is said to have held talks with producer/director Ernest Maxin, who is reported as saying, "Her story will make a fabulous London show - it is perfect for a major musical play. She had one of the great voices of her, or any other era."

Kathy Kirby's biography was published in 2005. Aptly entitled '
Secrets, Loves and Lip Gloss', it was written by James Harman - her later manager and a long time friend. The book has renewed much interest in her and her music, and an official Kathy Kirby website has been launched.

James Harman has written for us:
Kathy Kirby - the UK's highest paid girl singer of the swinging sixties - was often referred to as Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe because of her close resemblance to the Hollywood icon. Hopefully it won't be ungallant to state however she sang much better than the American star. It is generally agreed that the busty glamour girl possessed one of the finest female singing voices the United Kingdom has ever produced. Nicknamed 'The Golden Girl of Pop' and 'The Queen of British Television, she dominated both BBC and ITV with her spectacular shows.
Unfortunately however the seventies brought much personal heartache and screaming headlines about her private life and it has often been said that she out Garland Judy, but unlike the Hollywood legend survived it all. For the last quarter of a Century she has lived a virtual recluse at her home in London turning down all the frequent offers of work that still come her way. Her fan base is still huge, with a still massive gay following.

Visit the Kathy Kirby Official website which has been built at her request, and as a way of saying thank you to all her many fans: http://www.kathykirby.co.uk - and and another Kathy Kirby site: www.kathykirby.me.uk and be sure to check out James Harman's excellent book: Secrets, Loves and Lip Gloss, now available in paperback too.

Kathy is (was) currently under contract to take part in a major television documentary on her life and career being made by Odeon Entertainment.  Dame Vera Lynn's tribute to her was filmed only today, 2nd July 2008. Watch out for it!  Also check out: http://www.secretlove.info for info on Secret Love - the stage adaptation of Kathy's story which is on tour.

UPDATE 20/05/11: SAD NEWS. Singer Kathy Kirby, best known for her cover version of Secret Love in 1963, has died today aged 72yrs, after a short illness. A star has gone out. Sadly missed.

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Kathy Kirby: My Thanks To You.Kathy Kirby stars in Blackpool at the Winter Gardens.Kathy Kirby on stage.

Kathy Kirby signed photograph.Kathy Kirby.Kathy Kirby.

THE KATHY KIRBY SHOW AT THE WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL.KATHY KIRBY.
KATHY KIRBY, RADIO TIMES FRONT PAGE.KATHY KIRBY, RADIO TIMES FRONT PAGE.Kathy Kirby in a crowd. Is it Blackpool?

 

 


 


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