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Friday, 28 April, 2000, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Hunt for Screamin's offspring
Screamin' Jay Hawkins and skull
Bone of contention: Screamin' Jay Hawkins' past
A website has been set up to try and trace 57 children allegedly fathered by legendary R&B singer Screamin' Jay Hawkins. was set up after the performer's admission shortly before his death that he had sired at least that amount.

The website was the brainchild of Hawkins' biographer Maral Nigolian, who says she wants to put all the pieces of his life together.

She is planning to hold a big party in the summer for all the offspring that are positively identified.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Screamin' Jay Hawkins claimed to have fathered 57 children

Hawkins died on 12 February this year aged 70 from multiple organ failure after emergency surgery for an anuerysm.

He shot to fame in 1956 with the single I Put A Spell On You, achieving his trademark howl by getting drunk before he recorded the track.

Hawkins, famed for appearing on stage in a flaming coffin with a skull on a stick, enjoyed a revival in the 90s when his song Heart Attack and Vine was used for a Levi's commercial.

The energy he put into his singing mirrored his private life, with Nigolian describing him as "very active in the ladies department".

Married six times - not to mention numerous other liaisons - Hawkins moved to France in 1993, where he lived with his last wife until his death.


He lost touch with those children he knew for sure were his when he left America and Nigolian said that was his biggest regret.

"There was never enough time to spend with the kids, but he never regretted having them. He was very proud of his kids," she maintained.

Her message on the Jaykids site is simple: "If you believe you are, or know of, one of his children, please click on 'submission'."

The response has been overwhelming. Since it was set up on March 1, the site has been inundated with hits - with 12,000 on its busiest day.

He was very active in the ladies department.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins' biographer Maral Nigolian

One hopeful wrote: "I know he had relatives in Washington D.C. and believe that around the time of my conception he was here."

Another claimed: "My mamma was a waitress in a Detroit diner when she met Hawkins."

A third said his mother used to keep a framed photograph of her with the singer on the wall.

Nigolian believes at least eight of the respondents are possible heirs, but insists: "We're not trying to make this into a gold hunt. We simply want to get to the heart of the true submissions."

The Hawkins estate is currently controlled by his fifth ex-wife, but the will is being filed for probate in May.

All the children who appear to be genuine will eventually have DNA tests to determine whether they are proper little Screamers - then the party can really begin.

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12 Feb 00 | Americas
Screamin' Jay Hawkins dies
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