Cilla Black, singer and TV star, dies in Spain aged 72

Singer and TV star Cilla Black, who enjoyed a 50-year showbusiness career, has died aged 72, her agent has said.
The 1960s singing star became a popular TV celebrity on such shows as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise.
Spanish police said a woman named Priscilla White – Black’s real name – had died in Estepona on the Costa del Sol, where the star had a home.
The death appeared to be due to natural causes, but this had not yet been confirmed by tests, police said.
“It is with deep sorrow that I confirm… the passing of singer and TV personality Cilla Black,” said her agent, Nick Fiveash.
“Details of her death will be announced following the coroner’s report. Her family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to the entertainer, remembering her as “a huge talent who made a significant contribution to public life”.
Tributes have also been paid by her friends from the world of entertainment.
“I am so sad and shocked by news about my good friend Cilla,” tweeted Dame Joan Collins. “She was a resplendent and rare talent.”
“Such a shock to hear about Cilla’s passing,” said Sir Paul McCartney. “She was a lovely girl who infected everyone with her great spirit.
“From first meeting her as a cloak room girl at the Cavern in Liverpool, to seeing her many times since, she always had a fun-loving dignity that made her a great pleasure to be around.”
Sir Bruce Forsyth said Black would be “sadly missed”, while presenter Christopher Biggins described her as a “national treasure”.
Broadcaster Noel Edmonds told BBC Radio 5 live she “captured the hearts of the British people” because “she was our Cilla – there were no airs and graces”.
Songwriter Burt Bacharach, who worked with Black, said: “It will always be a most special memory for me of recording her on Alfie in Abbey Road Studios in 1965.”
Other tributes have come from comedian Jimmy Tarbuck, who said she had “warmth in bundles”, and Ringo Starr, who remembered her as “a good friend”.
Des O’Connor called her “a very special lady”, while broadcaster Gloria Hunniford – who saw Black two weeks ago at a friend’s barbeque – called her “a true icon”.
Dale Winton said Black had been “a dear and close friend” and “the most loyal person”, as well as a “true ‘star’ and genuine national icon”.
The phrase “national treasure” is often overused. But Cilla Black was one of the small group of entertainers who genuinely deserved it.
Long before she became a presenter she had an extraordinarily successful music career, with a string of top 10 hits.
She then did what few have managed and became equally successful in another arena, as a TV star.
Her easy going, natural manner endeared her to people, whom she famously addressed as “chuck”.
And that unaffected charm was the reason millions of viewers welcomed her into their homes in shows like Surprise Surprise and Blind Date.
But it wasn’t just audiences who loved her.
She also had the admiration and respect of fellow entertainers, some of whom had known her in Liverpool when she was still the teenaged Priscilla White.
Despite her success over the decades, she remained in many ways the same person to them – hard-working and passionate about performing.
That’s what made her such a remarkable star.
Born Priscilla White in Liverpool, Black changed her name to launch a singing career with hits such as Anyone Who Had a Heart and You’re My World.
Her career focus shifted to television in 1968, when she was given her own BBC One primetime series, and she went on to host a number of shows for ITV.
Black’s journey to stardom began at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club, where she started work as a part-time cloakroom attendant.
It was there she met her husband-to-be Bobby Willis and went on to perform alongside such acts as The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
She was soon brought to the attention of manager Brian Epstein and released her first single, Love of the Loved, in September 1963.
The following year she released the ballads You’re My World and Anyone Who Had a Heart, both of which went to number one.
She and Willis wed in 1969 and remained married until his death in 1999 at the age of 57.
The couple had three sons, one of whom, Robert, succeeded his father as her manager.
Last year Black received honours from Bafta and the Royal Television Society in recognition of her lengthy career.
A recent ITV drama series about her early years saw her played by the actress Sheridan Smith.
Holly Willoughby, who took over Black’s role as Surprise Surprise host, called her “one incredible lady”, while the actor Russell Crowe expressed “thanks for everything”.
Gordon Burns, with whom Black worked on Surprise Surprise, told the BBC she was a “larger-than-life figure” and “a lorra lorra laughs” – a reference to one of her famous catchphrases.
Lord Grade, former executive chairman of ITV, said Black was a “natural performer of the highest quality” and “one of the all-time greats in showbiz”.
The Cavern Club in Liverpool paid its own tribute with a sign announcing the death of its “famous cloak room girl”.
Black was photographed by a fan at Gatwick Airport on Friday, shortly before she flew to Spain.
Amy Kelly said: “She looked so glamorous but frail. Everyone was talking about her but no one was asking for pictures.
“I said all of my family loved her and took a picture with her. She gave me a massive smile. She was so lovely.”

Promoting Petroleum – Sri Lanka Mulls National Oil & Gas Company

Sri Lanka’s Power and Energy Ministry is to set up a national oil and gas company to exploit offshore natural gas deposits found in the Mannar Basin.
Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka in an interview with The Sunday Leader said that the government was of the view that harnessing natural gas from the two oil drilling wells – Dorado and Barracuda drilled by Cairn, was commercially viable.
“Cairn was given one block and they drilled four wells, two out of which natural gas was discovered. With this discovery their share prices too went up creating good capital gains for Cairn,” Minister Ranawaka said.
“However since government-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is not equipped for we decided to call for fresh global bids to choose an investor for commercially developing natural gas deposits in the Mannar basin.”
Cairn Lanka announced that it would quit Sri Lanka in October, after world crude oil prices continued to plunge, rock-bottoming at US$ 43.46 in March this year from US$ 107 a barrel in June 2014.
Block SL 2007-01-001 in the Mannar Basin was awarded to Cairn Lanka in the bid round held in 2008. This deep-water offshore block is located in an area where water depths range from 400 to 1,900 meter. Cairn Lanka (Private) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cairn India, holds a 100% participating interest in the block.
The first phase of the programme in 2011 resulted in two successive gas and condensate discoveries: the CLPL-Dorado-91H/1z and CLPL-Barracuda-1G/1 wells. Cairn Lanka’s successful drilling programme – the first in Sri Lanka in 30 years – established for the first time, a working petroleum system in the Mannar Basin.
The exploration programme involved the acquisition, processing and interpretation of 1,753 sq km of 3D seismic data and a three well deep water drilling programme. The seismic programme exceeded the phase I commitment by 20% and the drilling programme exceeded the drilling depth commitment by 50%.
The programme resulted in two successive gas and condensate discoveries: the CLPL-Dorado-91H/1z well and, the CLPL-Barracuda-1G/1 well. The third well, CLPL-Dorado North 1-82K/1 was plugged and abandoned as a dry hole on 14th December, 2011.
“Following this success, Cairn Lanka has notified the government of Sri Lanka of its intention to enter the second phase of exploration. The support of the Government of Sri Lanka and an effective partnership with the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka, were instrumental in ensuring the successful completion of the first phase exploration programme.”
Although Cairn Lanka’s announced that its successful drilling programme – the first in Sri Lanka in 30 years – has established a working petroleum system in the frontier Mannar Basin; the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was reportedly discontent with the little progress achieved by Cairn. Cairn had spent US$ 230 million for the exploration.
Crude oil prices has plunged nearly 20% in July alone and briefly dipped below US$ 47 a barrel on 28 July, whilst 2015 March prices marked the weakest since 2009.

Happy Birthday Tony Bennett!

Singer known for his renditions of show tunes, jazz, and popular songs like “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and “Rags to Riches.”

He dropped out of school to work as a copy boy in order to help support his family. He was a painting and music student at New York’s School of Industrial Art.

He founded the Frank Sinatra School of Arts.

He married Patricia Beech in 1952, Sandra Grant in 1971, and then Susan Crow in 2007. He has four children, two daughters named Antonia and Joanna and two sons named Danny and Dae.

He signed with a Columbia Records, which was owned by Mitch Miller.

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