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The Real Kathy Kirby: No Secret Anymore Mark Willerton

The Real Kathy Kirby: No Secret Anymore

Mark Willerton

Published
ISBN : 9781780884479
Hardcover
352 pages
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 About the Book 

Kathy Kirby always wanted to be a star. A seven-year apprenticeship under the guidance of renowned bandleader Bert Ambrose finally paid off. During 1963 Kathy appeared in a new TV series, Stars and Garters. She quickly became a household name and aMoreKathy Kirby always wanted to be a star. A seven-year apprenticeship under the guidance of renowned bandleader Bert Ambrose finally paid off. During 1963 Kathy appeared in a new TV series, Stars and Garters. She quickly became a household name and a regular chart contender with hit records including ‘Secret Love’, ‘Dance On’ and ‘Let Me Go Lover’. Kathy was voted Top British Female Singer of 1963- she appeared in the 1964 Royal Variety Show and represented the United Kingdom in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest.By the mid 1960s Kathy was Britain’s highest paid female singer with her own BBC TV series. She looked delicious too - blonde, curvy and glamorous - the double of Marilyn Monroe. Kathy also became known for her trademark lip gloss, which gave her lips a luscious, shiny look.When Ambrose died in 1971, Kathy’s career took a downward spiral. It was soon revealed that not only had he been her manager and mentor, but also her ‘secret love’ - despite a forty-two-year age gap.Throughout the 1970s, stories emerged of her rollercoaster life - celebrity lovers, a knife attack at her flat, a drug overdose, bankruptcy, alcohol abuse, her admission to a mental hospital and a lesbian affair. In 1981 Kathy Kirby made her final comeback - but it was short-lived. Tormented by demons she struggled to cope with debilitating mental illness and became a recluse.More than twenty years passed, during which she was ignored by the music business and media. Faithful fans still held a torch for Kathy, desperate for any word of her - a glimpse of old film footage on a nostalgic television show or a CD release featuring her old hits.Then it was discovered that Kathy was the aunt of Lady Claudia Harmsworth, wife of Lord Rothermere of the Daily Mail and Associated Newspaper Group.Suddenly, Kathy Kirby was big news again. Articles began to appear in the press, comparing her bleak, modest lifestyle with that of her rich and influential family. Her sister, Patricia, from whom she had been estranged for thirty years, re-entered her life. Patricia’s eldest daughter, Sarah, who is married to Sir Mark Thatcher, took control of Kathy’s affairs and became her power of attorney. Sarah investigated and uncovered what appeared to be evidence of financial misdemeanours by some of those who had been close to her aunt. As a result, those friends were methodically removed from Kathy’s life.The author of this explosive book, Mark Willerton, enjoyed a thirty-year friendship with Kathy. While others walked away - or were pushed - he remained steadfast, until Kathy’s unexpected death in May 2011.•A book in two parts: a biography (1938-1980) and a memoir (1981-2011).•Additional commentary by Kathy’s friends, neighbours, contemporaries, songwriters, producers and managers.•80 pages of rare colour and black & white photographs - many previously unseen ... including photos taken by the author during Kathy’s reclusive years.•Appendix - Kathy on Television and Radio - by Ian Parkes.•Discography and current values.