Singer and actor Alvin Stardust died this morning aged 72 after a short illness, his manager said.
He had recently been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and died at home with his wife and family around him.
Born Bernard William Jewry and performing first as Shane Fenton, Stardust’s stage and screen career spanned over a half-century. He was best known for singles released in the 1970s and 1980s, including “My Coo Ca Choo”, the UK Singles Chart-topper “Jealous Mind”, and “I Feel Like Buddy Holly.”
In the early 1960s, “Shane Fenton and the Fentones” were an unknown teenage band who recorded a demo tape and mailed it in to a BBC programme with the hope of being picked to appear on television. While awaiting a reply from the BBC, the band’s 17-year-old singer Shane Fenton died as a result of the rheumatic fever he had suffered in childhood.
The rest of the band (guitarists Jerry Wilcox and Mick Eyre, bassist William “Bonny” Oliver and drummer Tony Hinchcliffe) decided to break up, but then unexpectedly received a letter from the BBC inviting them to come to London to audition in person for the programme. Fenton’s mother asked the band to stay together, and to keep its name, in honour of her son’s memory.
He participated in A Song for Europe, the UK qualifying heat of the Eurovision Song Contest, in 1985, with the song “The Clock on the Wall”. He finished in third place behind Vikki and Kerri Wells.
In 1986, Stardust performed the duet “I Hope and I Pray” with Sheila Walsh on her album Shadowlands, which was released as a single. That year he also performed at Windsor Castle as a lead in the Lloyd Webber–Rice musical Cricket.
Stardust was married three times: firstly to Iris Caldwell (sister of Rory Storm), who was an ex-girlfriend of both George Harrison and Paul McCartney, having grown up with them in Liverpool; and secondly to the actress Liza Goddard. He was married to the actress and choreographer Julie Paton at the time of his death.
His son, Shaun Fenton, is the head teacher at Reigate Grammar School, and was previously head teacher at Pate’s Grammar School and Sir John Lawes School. His other son, Adam, is a drum and bass producer and DJ, known as “Adam F”. Stardust’s third child, Sophie Jewry, from his marriage to Liza Goddard, runs her own graphic design, printing, brand consultancy and coaching business and lives in Norfolk with her partner and daughter. Stardust’s fourth child, Millie Margaret May, was born in December 2000. The christening was covered by OK! magazine, with Sir Cliff Richard as one of the godparents. As wife Julie hails from Swansea, a Welsh flavour was provided by a harpist and Welsh male voice choir, the Gwalia Singers from Swansea.