It started with Cliff, and ended with Kathy

Sixties singer Kathy Kirby was the last live act to appear on stage at The Odean, Halifax in March 1964.
Sixties singer Kathy Kirby was the last live act to appear on stage at The Odean, Halifax in March 1964.
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SINGING star Kathy Kirby, who died yesterday aged 72, brought the curtain down when she performed in Halifax in 1964.

The blonde bombshell, whose biggest hit was Secret Love, performed on stage at the Odeon, Halifax on Easter Sunday, aged 23.

She was the final live act to perform at the cinema.

Halifax musical historian Trevor Simpson said Kathy was the British equivalent of Marilyn Monroe.

She was billed with Kenny Lynch and Boothtown’s Johnny Appollo, but Kathy was the headliner for two performances at 6pm and 8pm. But her popularity did not translate into ticket sales.

“The day she came to Halifax, the Courier reported 500 empty seats in the first house,” he said.

“She looked very, very vivacious,” said Mr Simpson.

Her biggest hits were a cover of Doris Day’s Secret Love and a version of The Shadows’ Dance On.

The local connections didn’t stop there.

Her chauffeur on her northern tour dates was Halifax man Doug Elliott.

A year after her Halifax performance, Kathy represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965, coming second to Luxembourg.

She had two top tens and three others in the top 40.

She continued to appear in a number of TV variety shows but later withdraw from the public eye.

A statement on behalf of her family said the singer died suddenly.

“She will be greatly missed by her family and her many friends who have stood loyal over the years,” it read.

In the 1970s, Kathy had a short-lived marriage to a policeman but hit the headlines again in 2009 after claiming she had a fling with Bruce Forsyth.