Sunday 23 October 2016

Veteran entertainer Val Doonican dies aged 88

Irish singer and TV entertainer Val Doonican has died aged 88.

His family told the BBC that he died "peacefully" last night.

The crooner was a big star in the 1960s and was a regular fixture on the BBC with the Val Doonican Show, which featured singing performances by artists.

He was married to Lynnette with whom he had two daughters.

His daughter Sarah said: "Until 87, he was as fit as a flea. It was just old age, I'm afraid - the batteries ran out."

Doonican, with his laid-back armchair style and his warm Irish demeanour, was one of the most popular and best-selling singers of his generation.

It took him years to establish his niche, but once he had achieved success he remained at the top of his profession for more than two decades.

Michael Valentine Doonican was born in Waterford on February 3, 1927, the youngest of eight children.

When he was 14, his world was shattered by his father's death from cancer of the throat and mouth. He left school to help support the family.


He had been writing and arranging music from a very young age, harmonising his friends' versions of the songs they saw performed on film.

Eventually, Doonican joined a band as drummer.

In 1951, he was approached by representatives of the Four Ramblers and invited to join them in England, where they are best remembered for Riders Of The Range on BBC Radio.

By then, Doonican had bought himself an amplifier for his guitar. He made a case to protect the amplifier by using an old theatre poster advertising entertainer Lynnette Rae. The pair met, and were married in the early 1960s, and had two daughters.

He was urged to go solo, which he did. He went on to record more than 50 albums, sales of which register in the millions.

He charted many times with singles and albums, appearing on Top Of The Pops to sing hits such as Walk Tall, The Special Years, What Would I Be, and Elusive Butterfly.

His TV shows ran for 24 years.

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