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Friday, 16 April, 1999, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Stars mourn 'consummate performer' Newley
Anthony Newley was married to Joan Collins for seven years
Celebrities have been remembering entertainer Anthony Newley, who has died aged 67 after a long battle with cancer.

The actor, playwright, author, composer, lyricist and singer died on Wednesday afternoon at his home in Jensen Beach, Florida.

"He died at home in the arms of his friend and partner Gina Fratini," close friend Herbert Kretzmer said.

Anthony Newley began his career as a child actor, appeared in dozens of films, and went on to become a successful singer and composer.

At the height of his fame in the 1960s he was married to actress Joan Collins. They divorced in 1971 after seven years, but remained friends.

Her agent Peter Charlesworth said she was "deeply, deeply upset" by the news.

"She's very upset and doesn't have anything to say. She's too distraught. They remained very close friends."

He added a private interment was being planned for Newley in Florida.

EastEnders stars pay tribute

On Broadway with Bruce Forsyth and Sammy Davis Jr
Last year, Anthony Newley took a role in the BBC soap EastEnders. The show's stars remembered him at a tribute dinner to Barbara Windsor, who plays Peggy Mitchell in the soap.

She said: "Today we lost somebody, the most consummate performer, the most wonderful Anthony Newley."

Co-star Mike Reid said he had admired Newley's career from afar in the 1960s and 1970s.

He added: "It's very, very sad. He did two or three episdoes and he was great. I was basically in awe of him, to think we had such a master to come up there.

"I was expecting it to go further, but Barbara tells me at the time he had been quite ill."

Entertainer Danny La Rue said: "We were all doing theatres at the same time, and he used to come to my club.

"He was always wonderful, because he had his British sense of humour tinged with an American brittle wit.

"At 13 he was able to do the Artful Dodger and steal the show. It is a terrible tragedy."

Actor Victor Spinetti reminisced about working with Newley when he was married to Joan Collins.

"He said to me, 'My wife is very social and I am busy working on this film, so wil you take her out every night?'

"So my job was to take Joan Collins every night. It was wonderful."

Multi-faceted career

Newley and Collins stayed close friends after their 1971 divorce
Anthony Newley started out as a child actor, and in 1948 he was a highly-acclaimed Artful Dodger in David Lean's Oliver Twist.

By 1959, he had written the lyrics for four numbers which he sang in the film Idle on Parade.

This launched him into another career as a pop singer. He had seven Top Ten hits in the next two years, including Why?, Do You Mind? and Pop Goes the Weasel.

During this period he met Leslie Bricusse, and in 1961 they collaborated, with Newley also directing and starring, in the West End musical Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. They went on to further success with films like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Doctor Dolittle.

Newley moved to the United States in the 1970s, and spent many years in cabaret work. In 1991 he teamed up in London to with his former wife Joan Collins to appear in two of Noel Coward's one-act plays for the BBC.

The following year Newley was in London again for his musical Once Upon a Song. It opened at the Kings Head Theatre in Islington, and in true Newley style he was the writer, director and star.

Anthony Newley married - and divorced - three times. He had four children.

Chris Jones looks back at Anthony Newley's life
The BBC's Andrew Burroughs looks back at Newley's life
Lucy Atherton: "Newley shot to fame as the Artful Dodger"
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