Spotlight on ……

Sir Bruce Forsyth

Bruce was born on Victoria Road in Edmonton, Middlesex on 22 February 1928, the son of Florence Ada (née Pocknell) and John Thomas Forsyth-Johnson. His family owned a car repair garage, and as members of the Salvation Army, his parents played brass instruments and his mother was a singer. His great-grandfather Joseph Forsyth Johnson (1840–1906) was a landscape architect who worked in multiple countries, and great-great-great-great-grandfather William Forsyth (1737–1804) was a founder of the Royal Horticultural Society and the namesake of the plant genus Forsythia. During World War II, his older brother John, a pilot in the Royal Air Force, was killed in 1943 during a training exercise at RAF Turnberry.Forsyth attended the Latymer School. After watching Fred Astaire in films at age eight, he trained in dance in Tottenham and then Brixton.

Bruce started in show business aged 14, with a song, dance, and accordion act called "Boy Bruce, the Mighty Atom". His first appearance was at the Theatre Royal in Bilston, with The Great Marzo at the top of the bill. Forsyth made his television debut in 1939 as a child, singing and dancing on BBC talent show Come and Be Televised, broadcast from Radiolympia, and introduced by Jasmine Bligh

.

After the war, with the goal of joining Moss Empires theatres, he spent years on stage with little success and travelled the UK working seven days a week, doing summer seasons, pantomimes and circuses, where he became renowned for his strong-man act. His act was interrupted by call-up papers for National Service when he was drafted into the Royal Air Force.

In 1958, an appearance with the comedian Dickie Henderson led to his being offered the job of compère of Val Parnell's weekly TV variety show, Sunday Night at the London Palladium. He hosted the show for two years, followed by a year's break, then returned for another year. His schedule of stage performances, which continued throughout the 1960s, forced him to give up the job of host.

Bruce appeared in the London production of Little Me, along with Avril Angers in 1964. In the musical film Star! (1968), a biopic of stage actress Gertrude Lawrence, he played alongside lead performer Julie Andrews as Lawrence's father.

In January 1968 Pye Records issued as a single "I'm Backing Britain", supporting the campaign of the same name, written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, and sung by Bruce. The chorus included "The feeling is growing, so let's keep it going, the good times are blowing our way". All involved in making the single took cuts in their fees or royalties so that the single sold for 5s. instead of the going rate of 7s. 4½d. Bruce happily endorsed the campaign, saying "The country has always done its best when it is up against the wall. If everyone realises what we are up against we can get out of trouble easily." The song did not make the charts, selling only 7,319 copies.

On 7 October 1968, he was top of the bill on the opening night of the Golden Garter nightclub, Wythenshawe. Two years later, he played Swinburne in the Disney fantasy film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. In 1976, he appeared on The Muppet Show, where he took on the famous duo of Statler and Waldorf.

During his spell of hosting Sunday Night at the London Palladium as part of the show he hosted the 15-minute game show Beat the Clock. Bruce's next success was The Generation Game (BBC1, 1971–1977, 1990–1994), which proved popular and attracted huge Saturday evening audiences. It was on this show that Bruce introduced his "The Thinker" pose, emulating Rodin's sculpture, appearing in silhouette each week after the opening titles. This pose is reminiscent of the circus strong-man attitude. He also wrote and sang the theme for the show "Life is the Name of the Game." Millions of viewers became familiar with the rasp of Bruce's north London accented voice and his "distinctively pointy" chin that he emphasised in poses such as the "human question mark", with chin over raised knee. He was replaced on The Generation Game by Larry Grayson.

In 1977 he announced that he was leaving television to take the star role in a new musical, The Travelling Music Show, based on the songs of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. The show did reasonably well in provincial theatre, but got bad reviews when it moved to London and closed after four months in July 1978.

London Weekend Television persuaded him to return to the screen later that year to present Bruce Forsyth's Big Night, a two-hour Saturday-night show on ITV encompassing a variety of different entertainment formats (later reduced to 90 minutes). However, the show was not a success and lasted for just one series. Bruce remained with ITV, hosting the game show Play Your Cards Right, which was the UK version of the US original Card Sharks, from 1980 to 1987, 1994 to 1999, and a brief period from 2002 to 2003, before the show was cancelled mid-run due to low ratings.

In 1986, he went to the United States to host a game show on ABC, Bruce Bruce's Hot Streak, which ran for 65 episodes from January to April that year. Bruce starred in the Thames Television sitcom Slinger's Day in 1986 and 1987, a sequel to Tripper's Day which had starred Leonard Rossiter, whom Bruce replaced in the new show. He was the original host of You Bet! (1988 to 1990), before the show reached mainstream success under the stewardship of Matthew Kelly.

Bruce fronted the third version of The Price Is Right (1995 to 2001). His unsuccessful gameshows include Takeover Bid (1990 to 1991),[34] Hollywood Or Bust (1984), and Didn't They Do Well! (2004). During the 1970s Bruce featured in the Stork margarine adverts on television, and then during the 1980s and 1990s he appeared in an advertising campaign for the furniture retailer Courts, in which he dressed as a judge.

Bruce celebrated his 70th birthday in 1998 and appeared in a week-long run of his one-man show at the London Palladium. In 2000, Bruce hosted a revived series called Tonight at the London Palladium.

In 2003, and again in 2010, Bruce was a guest presenter on the news and satire quiz show Have I Got News for You. Bruce had called Paul Merton, one of the team captains on the show, to suggest himself as a guest presenter. During the first of these appearances, he presented a parody of his Play Your Cards Right format entitled Play Your Iraqi Cards Right. He co-presented Strictly Come Dancing from 2004 to 2013, formally stepping down from hosting the regular live show in April 2014. This decision was made to reduce his workload and for the preparation of pre-recorded specials.

On 7 April 2010, Bruce became one of the first three celebrities to be subjected to the British version of the American institution of a comedy roast, on Channel 4's A Comedy Roast. Bruce was the subject of the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, broadcast on 19 July 2010. On 20 March 2010, Bruce appeared on the autobiography-interview programme Piers Morgan's Life Stories, which was broadcast on ITV.

In 2011, Bruce released a collection of songs on CD called These Are My Favourites. He chose the songs for their personal and musical importance, including a duet with his granddaughter, Sophie Purdie. These Are My Favourites also includes a recording of "Paper Moon" with Nat King Cole.

Bruce opening The Sir Bruce Forsyth Auditorium at the Millfield Theatre, Enfield, in October 2009.

Bruce's showbiz awards include Variety Club Show Business Personality of the Year in 1975; TV Times Male TV Personality of the Year, in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978; and BBC TV Personality of the Year in 1991.

In 1987, a fan club was created – the Great Bruce Forsyth Social Club. They would later go on to assist Bruce in singing his opening number, "It's Never Too Late", at his Audience With show. He repaid this favour by adding the society to his busy schedule in June 1997 and appeared at their 10th AGM in Plymouth.

Bruce was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998, and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2006 New Year Honours.

On 27 February 2005, the BBC screened A BAFTA Tribute to Bruce Forsyth to mark the entertainer's 60 years in show business. He had a bronze bust of himself unveiled at the London Palladium in May 2005. The sculpture was created by his son-in-law and is on display in the theatre's Cinderella Bar.

In 2008, Bruce received the BAFTA Fellowship. In 2009, he was awarded the Theatre Performer's Award at the annual Carl Alan Awards. Hosted by the International Dance Teachers' Association, the awards are voted for by the leading dance organisations in the United Kingdom and recognise those who have made an exceptional contribution to the world of dance and theatre.

Bruce received a Royal Television Society Lifetime Achievement Award on 17 March 2009. On 26 January 2011 he received the National Television Awards special recognition award.

Bruce was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to entertainment and charity. This followed a years-long public campaign to award him a knighthood. His investiture, by the Queen, took place on 12 October 2011 and he became Sir Bruce Forsyth CBE.

In July 2012, Bruce was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flame through London, as it finally reached the city on the penultimate day of the London 2012 Torch Relay.

Forsyth earned a place in the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records as the male TV entertainer having had the longest career, calling it a "wonderful surprise". He also appeared at the 2013 Glastonbury Festival on the Avalon stage, becoming the oldest performer to ever play at the festival.

From 1953 until their divorce in 1973, Forsyth was married to Penny Calvert, with whom he had three daughters named Debbie, Julie, and Laura. In 1973, he married Anthea Redfern, the hostess on The Generation Game. They had two daughters, Charlotte and Louisa, before divorcing in 1979. Asked to judge the 1980 Miss World competition, Bruce met Puerto Rican beauty queen Wilnelia Merced, who was a fellow judge. They were married from 1983 until his death in 2017. They had one son together, Jonathan Joseph, better known as "JJ". By his six children, Bruce had nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Bruce was a supporter and ambassador for the children's charity Caudwell Children, regularly appearing at many of their fundraising events.

In August 2014, Bruce was one of 200 public figures who signed a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September's referendum on that issue.

Bruce lived at the exclusive Wentworth Estate in Surrey.

Towards the end of his life, Bruce suffered from ill health, which reduced his appearances in public. On 8 October 2015, he was hospitalized for cuts and a minor concussion after falling at his home, caused by him tripping over a rug and hitting his head as a result. A month later, he made his last TV appearance on Strictly Children in Need Special, with filming for this taking place prior to him undergoing surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm on 12 November. As a result of his surgery, Bruce was unable to host that year's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special as planned, but a spokesman representing him later stated he would play a part in the production, recording a special video message for it.

After 2015, Bruce made no further public appearances, as his health began to decline, with his wife commenting that he struggled to move easily following his surgery. On 26 February 2017, he was hospitalized with a severe chest infection and spent five days in intensive care, before returning home on 3 March 2017.

On 18 August 2017, after struggling with further health problems, Bruce died at his Wentworth Estate home, aged 89. Several celebrities paid tribute to Bruce following his death, including his former Strictly Come Dancing co-host Tess Daly; his friends Michael Parkinson, Jimmy Tarbuck, and Des O'Connor; and the BBC director general Tony Hall. BBC One aired Sir Bruce Forsyth – Mr Entertainment, in place of the scheduled The One Show, in tribute.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Forsyth

 

PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHT GUESTS

Bob Dylan

Jackie Wilson

Aretha Franklin

Winifred Atwell

Stevie Wonder

Dusty Springfield

Karen Carpenter

The Searchers

Gerry and The Pacemakers

The Shirelles

Mary Hopkin

Mamas and Papas

Isley Brothers

Prince

Sir George Martin

Terry Wogan

Tom Jones

Nana Mouskouri

Richard Harris

Slim Whitman

Scott Walker

The Seekers

Ray Charles

Dave Allen

Johnny Rivers

Otis Redding

Dave Clark Five

The Walker Brothers

Rolf Harris

Paul Anka

Perry Como

Louis Armstrong

Jake Anthony Smith

Judy Garland

Maureen & Harry Carruthers - Revised

Malcolm Vaughan

Johnny Cash

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme

Frankie Vaughan

The Tokens

Herman's Hermits

Acker Bilk

Dionne Warwick

Duke Ellington

Mick Finn

Jim Reeves

Dorothy Squires

Joe Francis

Dinah Washington

Tricia Lockett

Simon & Garfunkle

Neil Diamond

The Hollies

Kay Starr

Tubby Hayes

Garry Williams

Frank Ifield

Robert Humphries

Bing Crosby

Ted & Lilian Knightley

Bobby Vee

Buddy Greco

Connie Francis

Cyril Ornadel

Ian Billingham

Geoff Love

Robert McCloud

Neil Sedaka

Jack Jones

Jeff Green

Cyril Stapleton

Mike Bloomfield

Eartha_Kitt

Vic Damone

Sebastian Lassandro

Strange Lady In Town

Martin Farbrother

Lulu

Mel Torme

Joshua De Gray

Willie Nelson

Peggy Lee

Michael Holliday

Wanda Jackson

Dinah Shore

Helen Shapiro

Geraldine Vine

Sue Parker

Complete Singles

Vera Lynn

Nancy Sinatra

Cilla Black

Nina Simone

Maureen & Harry Carruthers

Humphrey Lyttelton

Val Doonican

Keith Good

Bobbie Gentry

Sandra Tindall

Bobby Darin

John Higton

Adam Faith

Marian Down

Kenny Rogers

Steve Woof

Glen Campbell

Richard Moore - Interview

Dame Shirley Bassey

Al Martino

Ella Fitzgerald

Jo Stafford

Lena Horne

June Christy

Nancy Wilson

Johnny Dankworth

Anthony Newley

Andy Williams

Vikki Carr

Missing Matt 2

Michael Ball

Petula Clark

Michele Monro

Lena Horne

Missing Media

George Martin

Dusty Springfield

Richard Moore

Tommy Bruce

Alma Cogan

Kathy Kirby

Tony Bennet

Johnny Mathis

Joe Longthorne

Frank Sinatra

Sammy Davis Jr.

Dean Martin

Nelson Riddle

Tony Christie

Nat King Cole

Steve Woof

Matt Monro Jnr.

Roy Leslie

Ken Dodd

Julie London

Sid Feller