Ronnie Carroll (born Ronald Cleghorn; 18 August 1934 – 13 April 2015) was a Northern Irish singer, entertainer and political candidate.

Ronnie Carroll
Ronnie Carroll at the Eurovision Song Contest 1962
Ronnie Carroll at the Eurovision Song Contest 1962
Background information
Birth nameRonald Cleghorn
Born(1934-08-18)18 August 1934
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Died13 April 2015(2015-04-13) (aged 80)
Hampstead, London, England

Career edit

Carroll was born Ronald Cleghorn in 116 Roslyn Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1934, the son of a plumber.[1]

In January 1954, 19-year-old Ronnie Cleghorn was appearing in a variety show at the Town Hall, Portadown billed as Belfast's Nat King Cole[2] and the show went on to play at several locations in Northern Ireland. Coming across to England, Cleghorn joined a show called "Hollywood Stars" at the Queen's in Blackpool in March 1954[3] in which the cast gave impressions of trans-Atlantic screen personalities. He sang in the style of Nat King Cole in blackface.[4] Cleghorn adopted the stage name of "Carroll" in May 1954 and the show toured the UK for the next eighteen months. He made his first television appearance on BBC's "Camera One" on 10 January 1956 singing “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing”.[5] He was given a recording contract by Philips and his first record "Last Love" was released on 1 February 1956.[6] Carroll joined a touring show "New Faces of 1956" which began in Nottingham on 27 February 1956[7] and then he went into a radio show "Calling All Stars".[8] Later that year, he was topping the bill on variety stages[9] and his record “Walk Hand in Hand” was in the charts.[10]

He is the only singer to have represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest two years in succession.[11] Having taken part in the 1960 UK Eurovision selection contest with the song "Girl with a Curl", he returned to win the selection and be Britain's entry in the 1962 contest, and with the song "Ring-a-Ding Girl" shared fourth place, the same placing he reached in 1963 with "Say Wonderful Things". This success was followed by two Top 10 hits during 1962 and 1963, but a lack of good material meant that he could not sustain a chart presence. In 1962 he appeared on the bill of "The Winifred Atwell Show". From Monday 17 September 1962, for one week only, he gave twice-nightly performances at the Brighton Hippodrome.

Carroll subsequently worked on cruise ships, including the QE2, with John Marcangelo who was the drummer with the Ronnie Carroll Orchestra. He played a pop musician named 'Ronnie' in the 1963 film Blind Corner. He had many guest appearances on hit TV shows in the 1960s and early 1970s, including The Morecambe & Wise Show and Sez Les.[12]

In 2005, he released a comeback album, Back on Song.[1]

Political career edit

Carroll contested his home Hampstead and Highgate constituency seat in the 1997 UK General Election, and the Uxbridge by-election in July that year with the Rainbow Alliance.[13][14] He stood in the 2008 Haltemprice and Howden by-election as a candidate for Make Politicians History and received 29 votes, despite announcing that he was trying to enter the record books by receiving no votes.[15][16]

He stood as a candidate (under the name 'The Eurovisionary Carroll') for the 2015 general election, in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency. Nominations had closed on 9 April 2015, just four days before his death, but polling day was not until 7 May. He was standing as an independent so the poll continued; if he had won the election, the ballot would have been re-run at a later date. In the event he polled 113 votes to finish sixth out of seven candidates.[17]

Personal life edit

Through work in variety theatre he met his first wife, Millicent Martin, they married in Barbados in 1958, remaining married until 1969.[18] His company Ronnie Carroll Productions Ltd went into liquidation in 1969 following a petition from the Inland Revenue.[19] He had suffered gambling losses of £170,000 in recent years.[20]

His second wife was the Olympic runner June Paul and they married on 21 September 1970.[21] They ran a successful nightclub in Grenada which failed when there was a Revolution and the Airport runways were dug up, ending tourism for a time.[22][23] He was first declared bankrupt in 1974 when his second marriage to June Paul ended, Paul went on to own the "Everyman Cinema" in Hampstead.[23] Carroll went on to marry and divorce his third and last wife, South African-born Glenda Kentridge.[22] In 1989 Carroll was declared bankrupt for a second time, at one point, running a food stall in Camden Market.[23]

He lived his last years in Hampstead, north London, and was a regular caller to radio phone-in shows on BBC London 94.9. He died in London on 13 April 2015, at age 80.[24][23] He was survived by two sons with June and a daughter and son, his children with Glenda.[22]

Discography edit

Charted singles edit

LPs edit

  • "Lucky Thirteen" (1958)
  • "Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue" (1963)
  • "Mr & Mrs Is the Name" (1964) (with Millicent Martin)
  • "Carroll Calling" (1965)
  • "Promises, Promises" (1969) (songs from the show with other singers)[26]
  • "Back on Song" (2005)

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Ronnie Carroll biography". IMDb. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Portadown News". Portadown News: 1. 23 January 1954.
  3. ^ "The Stage". The Stage: 2. 4 March 1954.
  4. ^ "Daily Mirror". Daily Mirror: 9. 20 January 1956.
  5. ^ "Belfast Telegraph". Belfast Telegraph: 7. 12 January 1956.
  6. ^ "Daily Mirror". Daily Mirror: 15. 26 January 1956.
  7. ^ "The Stage". The Stage: 1. 16 February 1956.
  8. ^ "Sunday Mirror". Sunday Mirror: 16. 1 April 1956.
  9. ^ "Morecambe Guardian". Morecambe Guardian: 12. 27 July 1956.
  10. ^ Quinn, Michael (23 April 2015). "Obituary: Ronnie Carroll". The Stage. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  11. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest – The Official History. Carlton Books, UK. 2007. ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  12. ^ "Internet Movie Database". IMDb. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  13. ^ "London Boroughs 1983-97". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  14. ^ "United Kingdom Parliamentary Byelection results 1997". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  15. ^ "A record-breaking by-election?". BBC News. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Haltemprice and Howden: Result in full". BBC News. 11 July 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  17. ^ "A Dead Man Is Standing in the General Election". BuzzFeed.
  18. ^ "Belfast Telegraph". Belfast Telegraph: 1. 13 March 1969.
  19. ^ "Belfast Telegraph". Belfast Telegraph: 1. 8 July 1969.
  20. ^ "Daily Mirror". Daily Mirror: 7. 12 July 1969.
  21. ^ "Daily Mirror". Daily Mirror: 4. 21 September 1970.
  22. ^ a b c "Ronnie Carroll, singer and 'Eurovisionary' – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  23. ^ a b c d "Ronnie Carroll: Eurovision Song Contest singer who later stood for Parliament as a candidate for the Rainbow Alliance". The Independent. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  24. ^ "Ronnie Carroll: Former Eurovision singer and election candidate dies". BBC News. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  25. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 95. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  26. ^ "". Discogs. Retrieved 8 March 2022.

External links edit

  Media related to Ronnie Carroll at Wikimedia Commons

Awards and achievements
Preceded by United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest
1962, 1963
Succeeded by