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Friday, September 17, 1999 Published at 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK


Glasgow 'peacemaker' Frankie Vaughan dies

He successfully urged Glasgow gangs to give up their weapons

Legendary crooner Frankie Vaughan has finally lost his long fight for life, more than four months after undergoing serious heart surgery.

The 71-year-old singer, dubbed "Mr Moonlight" after one of his hits, Give Me The Moonlight, died in the early hours at his home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

The BBC's Nick Higham on the life of Frankie Vaughan
Mr Vaughan, famous for his tuxedo, top hat and cane, had a history of health problems. He came out of hospital about three weeks ago, after undergoing six operations.

At the end of 1986 he almost died of peritonitis - an inflammation of the abdomen - after failing to seek medical help because he wanted to continue working.

In October 1992 he had emergency surgery for a ruptured artery.

[ image: The young Frankie Vaughan]
The young Frankie Vaughan
But in his heyday, Mr Vaughan had musical success on both sides of the Atlantic.

His singing was accompanied to delighted squeals from his adoring, mostly female, audience.

Tributes have been pouring in for him, including from the people of Easterhouse in Glasgow.

The entertainer got involved with a youth project in Easterhouse in the late 1960s.

He played a concert in Glasgow and was so appalled by violence levels that he held meetings with gang leaders and appealed for people to surrender their weapons.

Terry Wogan: "He was very down to earth"
Easterhouse councillor Jim Coleman, the depute leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "Frankie Vaughan will always be very fondly remembered by the people of Easterhouse.

"The Easterhouse Project is still doing good work and will serve as a tribute to his memory."

His flamboyant act and hits including Green Door and Garden of Eden, ensured his fame as a popular showman and entertainer for well over 30 years.

Working further afield, he also made a number of film appearances including, most notably, in 1960, Let's Make Love starring Marilyn Monroe.

[ image: Starring alongside Marilyn Monroe in Let's Make Love]
Starring alongside Marilyn Monroe in Let's Make Love
And in the mid-1980s he starred, to great critical acclaim, in the Drury Lane production of 42nd Street.

He was born Frank Abelson in Liverpool in 1928. After winning a crooning contest in Leeds, where he studied commercial art, he was given a spot in a show at Kingston-upon-Thames, and created something of a sensation.

He took the stage name Vaughan because his Russian grandmother had said he would be her "number vorn" singer.

He was Showbusiness Personality of the Year in 1957 and after that often topped the bill in the West End.

In later years he described himself as Pop of the Pops. When he took over the part of the Broadway producer in 42nd Street, it was his first appearance in musical comedy.

Pip Burley from the Variety Club of Great Britain: "A showbiz legend"
He had to give up the role in late 1986, after about a year, due to ill health.

But he always maintained his loyalty to Boys Clubs because of the help that he was given while a refugee in Lancaster during World War II. He gave them the royalties from Green Door in 1956.

In 1964 he was appointed to a committee set up to advise on juvenile delinquency.

Frankie Vaughan and his wife Stella married in 1951. They had three children and several grandchildren.

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Glasgow 'peacemaker' Frankie Vaughan dies