Durable performer who moved from pop to TV and stage acting

Alvin Stardust: September 27th, 1942 - October 23rd, 2014

 

It was in the era of 1970s glam rock that Alvin Stardust, who has died aged 72, became a household name.

Thanks to a dramatic appearance on Top of the Pops in 1973, his debut single, My Coo Ca Choo, climbed to No 2 in the British charts and blossomed into an international hit. The follow-up, Jealous Mind, went to No 1. During the 1980s, Stardust’s allure proved durable enough to take him back into the Top 10 with Pretend (1981), I Feel Like Buddy Holly (1984) and I Won’t Run Away (1984).

Yet before he adopted the persona of Alvin Stardust, who resembled a glittery 1970s version of 1950s rocker Gene Vincent, he had already had a trial run at stardom as Shane Fenton, lead singer with Shane Fenton and the Fentones, who scored a handful of minor hits in the early 1960s.

Schoolboy enthusiasm

His transformation into Alvin Stardust came about in odd circumstances. The songwriter and producer Peter Shelley had written and recorded My Coo Ca Choo under the invented name Alvin Stardust. Shelley had to pretend to be Stardust when the fictional performer landed a TV slot. When the song charted, he realised they would need a permanent Alvin Stardust and again Jewry was pressed into service.

After his early huge chart success, Stardust’s career seemed to be fading when punk rock came along, but he proved remarkably resilient. Pete Waterman supplied him with a song, Pretend, but several labels turned him down for sounding “too seventies”. However, he had several hits in the 1980s.

In the following decade, he set out to pursue his long-cherished ambition to act, appearing in Hollyoaks, Doctors and The Grimleys and also racking up a list of theatre appearances.

His marriage to actor Liza Goddard foundered after Stardust’s sudden conversion to Christianity, apparently following his meeting with some US Baptist missionaries on a train. Stardust then married the actor and and choreographer Julie Paton.

He is survived by her and their daughter, Millie; a daughter, Sophie, and stepson, Thom, from his marriage to Goddard; and two sons, Shaun and Adam, from his first marriage, to Iris Caldwell.