Cilla Black Dead at 72
The former pop star, real name Priscilla White, is thought to have passed away from natural causes overnight at her villa in Marbella.
A local police spokesman in Spain says, “I can confirm the death of British national Priscilla White, aged 72. We are still awaiting autopsy results but everything at this stage is pointing towards her death being the result of natural causes.”
Black was born Priscilla Maria Veronica White on 27 May, 1943 in Liverpool, England. Determined to be an entertainer from an early age, she got a part-time job as a cloakroom attendant at the city’s famous Cavern Club, and her impromptu performances impressed The Beatles, with whom she became close friends, and Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison began writing songs for her, including her debut single Love of the Loved.
She was introduced to music mogul Brian Epstein by Lennon, and was eventually signed by Parlophone Records in 1963, enjoying a huge hit with a cover of Burt Bacharach’s Anyone Who Had a Heart in February, 1964.
After Epstein died in 1967, her then-boyfriend Bobby Willis took over running her career, and they married in 1969. Black had a string of hits including Step Inside Love and Surround Yourself with Sorrow, before branching out into TV presenting with her own variety show, Cilla, which ran from 1968 to 1976, and comedy series Cilla’s Comedy Six in 1975.
In the 1980s, she scored her most famous TV hits with Blind Date and Surprise, Surprise which led to her becoming known as the Queen of TV.
Black was left devastated by her husband’s death from cancer, aged just 57, in 1999, but she eventually rejuvenated her career and starred in hit comedies such as Benidorm and sitcom Led Astray.
She is survived by her three sons Robert, Ben and Jack, and two grandchildren.