THE SINGER Frankie Vaughan died yesterday at the age of 71. Although the height of his popularity occurred in relatively recent times, his style now seems that of a bygone age.
In the Fifties and early Sixties he was probably Britain's best-known crooner, a word no longer in fashion. And the lyric he was best known for crooning, "Give me the moonlight, give me the girls and leave the rest to me" disappeared from set lists in an age of sexual equality.
He went on to top the bill at every big British theatre and became the first British singer to star in Las Vegas. He broke house records in cabaret at New York's Copacabana.
Vaughan notched up two number one hits, "Tower Of Strength" and "Garden Of Eden". Nevertheless, Vaughan kept his strong and loyal fan base of women of a certain age through the pop and rock explosion of the Sixties, despite the anachronisms of punctuating his songs with high kicks and usually wearing a boater and wielding a cane.
He underwent surgery earlier this year after heart problems but was sent home from hospital last month. A spokeswoman for his agent, Peter Charlesworth, said last night: "He died peacefully with his family and was buried in accordance with the Jewish tradition. The family have requested privacy for the time being."
Vaughan was also a matinee idol and appeared in the 1960 film Let's Make Love with the screen goddess Marilyn Monroe. He later said that Monroe had tried to seduce him but the attempt was doomed to failure because he loved his wife, Stella.
He once said: "I have flirted with women, particularly when I'm doing my act, but I never stop telling my wife that I love her the most of all. I wake her up every morning with a kiss, a cup of tea and a biscuit. She's the greatest pleasure in my life."
He was born Frank Abelson in his Russian grandmother's house in Liverpool on 3 February 1928. In a heavy Russian accent she used to describe Frankie, her first grandchild, as "My Number Vorn" - the origin of his stage name. He turned to showbusiness from a short career as a commercial artist after leaving Leeds College Of Art.
The BBC Radio 2 Breakfast DJ Terry Wogan said last night: "I respected him enormously. He was a simple man, he never lost his simplicity or his humility and that was the most engaging thing about him. I am very sad and shocked to learn of his death."
Obituary, review, page 7
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