Updated: Video: Tributes to singer Alvin Stardust, and footage of him at Epic in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 13:35 23 October 2014 | UPDATED: 18:25 23 October 2014
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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.
The singer - real name Bernard Jewry - started out in the music business in the 1960s but became a huge star on the back of the 1970s glam rock craze scoring hits with tracks including My Coo Ca Choo and Jealous Mind.
Stardust, who lived in Billingshurst, West Sussex, was still performing until recently and working on a new album which is due for release next month.
His manager Andy Davies said: “Alvin and I had only started working together over the last couple of years because he and I believed that musically he still had a great deal to give and explore, and so we recorded an album that is a testament to an artist who gave his career to music.
“I may not have known him long but even in that short time he proved to be one of the most genuine and likeable men I’ve ever met. His passing is a huge and sad loss.”
In the 1970s he married actress Liza Goddard, who lives near Dereham.
Ms Goddard, who had been married to Stardust for eight years, paid tribute to the singer, saying she held fond memories of their time together.
She said: “He was very talented, good fun and we had very happy times together, we share a beautiful daughter and granddaughter and my heart goes out to Julie with whom he had been with for 25 years and their daughter Millie.
“We were very lucky to have Sophie and then Adelaide. We had some very good times. It was a great time in the 80s; he was successful, I was successful and we had a jolly good time.”
Born in London, Stardust grew up in Mansfield and started playing guitar as a schoolboy. He met one of his biggest influences, Buddy Holly, at a gig in Doncaster and played backstage with the singer and his band the Crickets.
He signed his first record deal in 1961 as the frontman of Shane Fenton and the Fentones but the band struggled to get in the charts despite regular touring in Europe and the UK.
In 1973, he signed up with Magnet Records and took on the name that would make him famous - scoring hit after hit as Alvin Stardust.
His success continued into the 1980s with Pretend, I Feel Like Buddy Holly and I Won’t Run Away all making the top 10.
At the height of his fame in the mid-1970s, he appeared on TV as part of the Green Cross Code road safety campaign.
Turning to acting, he appeared in a string of musicals including playing the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.
He presented his own children’s show, It’s Stardust, on ITV and appeared on shows including Hollyoaks and Doctors.
In 2010 he played a surprise gig to 300 people at Wreningham Village Hall.
The gig marked a major coup for the Starfighter Club that came about after officials appealed for new sponsors and financial backers.
‘Rockin’ Roland Purdy, DJ and founder of the Starfigher Club, which moved from the former cattle market site in Norwich to Wreningham four years ago, said at the time he was amazed to get a call from the 67-year-old after being put in touch with Stardust’s former agent.
“I was looking for a sponsor for the club and someone to help us keep afloat and I got an answer phone message that Alvin Stardust wanted to perform. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Mr Purdy said at the time he was “ecstatic” that Alvin, who was one of the early pioneers of British rock ‘n’ roll, was coming to the village hall to celebrate 50 years of the music genre.
“Artists like that do not do small venues. We are one of the top 50 rock ‘n’ Roll clubs in the country and get people coming from as far as Kent, Essex and Lincolnshire, but we think this will generate even more interest.
“It is quite a step back for him really, but we are extremely grateful for it. He says he wants to give something back to the rock ‘n’ roll scene and play in front of a hall where people can dance and he can circulate around the room,” he said.