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Last Updated:  Saturday, 8 March, 2003, 12:42 GMT
Adam Faith: Sixties icon
Adam Faith on Face to Face in 1960
Adam Faith shot to fame in the 1960s
Born Terry Nelhams in June 1940 on a council estate in Acton, west London, Adam Faith was the third of five children.

He left school at 15 to work as a messenger at Rank Screen Services.

In 1956 he formed a skiffle group with friends called The Worried Men.

His big break came when the band was playing in Soho, when he was spotted by television producer Jack Good - director of the BBC pop show 6-5 Special.

He adopted his stage name, Adam Faith, and went on to enjoy chart hits including number one singles What Do You Want and Poor Me.

Just to get a record in the hit parade is unbelievable - it's like winning the Lottery - but getting to number one is like having a double rollover
Adam Faith

And only last Thursday he told BBC News it simply could not get any better than that.

"Just to get a record in the hit parade is unbelievable - it's like winning the Lottery - but getting to number one is like having a double rollover."

During the 1960s, Faith was one of Britain's top three pop stars alongside Cliff Richard and Billy Fury.

He launched an acting career, featuring in films Beat Girl and Mix Me A Person.

By 1967, Faith had amassed a small fortune in property and married his long-standing girlfriend, professional dancer Jackie Irving.

In the 70s he starred as the chirpy cockney, just out of prison, in the classic television series Budgie, written by Keith Waterhouse.


But Faith went into semi-retirement for almost a year in 1973 after he was seriously injured in a car crash, almost losing a leg.

He made his comeback in 1975 when as a rock star manager in the film Stardust, alongside David Essex.

His music career continued with a new album in 1975 - Survive, with contributions from Paul McCartney.

He was friendly, humorous and genuinely interested in the things people said to him
Hilary Morris, Wales

During his career, Faith worked alongside stars like Ringo Starr, Elton John, Brian May, Lonnie Donegan, Roger Daltrey and Jodie Foster.

He moved away from the world of showbiz in the early 80s, becoming a financial investments advisor.

But in 1986, he had open heart surgery after being found to have seriously blocked arteries.


After a full recovery Faith presented a BBC One programme looking at the causes, treatment and prevention of heart disease in 1998.

Then he took up financial journalism, with a regular column for the Daily Mail and then the Mail on Sunday.

In 1991 he returned to theatre work and starred alongside Zoe Wannamaker in the TV series Love Hurts.

In 1999 he was behind the development of digital television's The Money Channel.

But the venture soon ran into difficulties, the channel closed down and Faith was declared bankrupt last year, reportedly losing 32m.

Recently reconciled with his estranged wife, he presented the BBC Radio 2 programme Rockin' In The Aisles and also starred in TV sit-com The House That Jack Built alongside Gillian Taylforth.

Theatre experience

Faith had been due to appear early next year in a new season of the BBC's Murder in Mind films for television, alongside Jamie Theakston and Helen Baxendale.

His last appearance was on Friday when he featured on BBC TV's Lock Up Your Daughters: Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll in the UK.

Faith's theatre experience was also extensive.

And he was starring in Love and Marriage at in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, before he was taken ill on Friday night.

Faith, who lived in Tudeley in Kent, leaves a wife, Jackie, and daughter Katya, aged 32.

Actor Adam Faith dies
08 Mar 03 |  Entertainment

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