Championed by The Beatles, managed by Brian Epstein, and signed to Parlophone Records by George Martin, Cilla Black touched a nation with a series of UK hits that held her career in good standing for 50 years. She died August 1st at a villa she owned in Spain, apparently of natural causes. She was 72.
Early tributes made public came from Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Born Priscilla Maria Veronica White OBE (27 May 1943), and known by her stage name Cilla Black, she was an English singer, actress, entertainer and media personality. She began her career as a singer in 1963, and her singles "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (1964) and "You're My World" (1964) both reached number one. She also recorded the theme song for the film, Alfie, which became a smash hit in many countries excepting the US (where Cher covered it and had her own hit with the Burt Bacharach & Hal David composition). The movie provided the inspiration for Black's own autobiography in later years, entitled What's It All About.
Black had eleven Top Ten hits on the British charts between 1964 and 1971. In May 2010, new research published by BBC Radio 2 showed that her version of "Anyone Who Had a Heart" was the UK's biggest selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. "You're My World" was also a modest hit in the US, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Along with a successful recording career in the 1960s and early 1970s, Black hosted her own eponymous variety show, Cilla, for the BBC between 1968 and 1976. After a brief time as a comedy actress in the mid-1970s, she became a prominent television presenter in the 1980s and 1990s, hosting hit entertainment shows such as Blind Date (1985–2003) and Surprise Surprise (1984–2001).
In 2013, Black celebrated her 50 years in show business. British television network ITV honoured this milestone with a one-off entertainment special which aired on 16 October 2013. The show, called The One & Only Cilla Black, featured Black herself and was hosted by Anglo-Irish comedian and DJ, Paul O'Grady.