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Dorothy Squires

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Dorothy Squires

Dorothy Squires
Birth name Edna May Squires
Born (1915-03-25)25 March 1915
Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Died 14 April 1998(1998-04-14) (aged 83)
Llwynypia, Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales
Genres Traditional pop music, pop
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocalist
Years active 1936–1990
Labels Parlophone Records, Columbia Records, Polygon Records

Dorothy Squires (25 March 1915 – 14 April 1998[1]) was a Welsh vocalist. Among her recordings were versions of "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening", "I'm in the Mood for Love", "Anytime", "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)" and "And So to Sleep Again".

Contents

  • Biography 1
    • Career 1.1
      • Billy Reid 1.1.1
      • Roger Moore 1.1.2
    • Later life 1.2
  • Hit singles 2
  • Legacy 3
  • Selected filmography 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Biography

Born as Edna May Squires in her parents' carnival caravan in Pontyberem (about 12 miles from Llanelli), Carmarthenshire, Wales, to a steelworker, Archibald James Squires and his wife, Emily, she wanted a piano as a child. Her mother bought her a ukulele. While working in a tin plate factory, she began to perform professionally as a singer at the age of 16 in the working men's club of Pontyberem.

Career

Squires decided to pursue her dream in London, so while working as a nurse she would audition unsuccessfully for various jobs, during which she met agent Joe Kay, who got her night time work in various clubs. While working in the East End, Squires worked at a club which gave her the name Dorothy, which she liked and used on stage after that time. Squires did most of her work with the orchestra of Billy Reid, who was her partner for many years. After she joined his orchestra in 1936, he began to write songs for her to perform.

Billy Reid

In the immediate post-war, she worked on the BBC radio show Variety Bandbox, which subsequently made her the highest paid female singer in the UK. Squires and Reid bought a 16-bedroom house in Bexhill on Sea, and working with Reid recorded the original version of Reid's composition, "A Tree in the Meadow", best known in the United States for the recording by Margaret Whiting, which reached No.1 on the US pop chart.

Her version of another Reid-penned song, "I'm Walking Behind You" was covered by Eddie Fisher which became a No.1 hit single in the US, and her recording of "The Gypsy" also became a No.1 hit there after being waxed by The Ink Spots – their biggest hit. It was also a major hit for Dinah Shore.

Whilst working with Billy Reid, Dorothy Squires lived at 16 Chaucer Road, Herne Hill Brixton.

Roger Moore

Squires met Roger Moore (12 years her junior) at one of her lavish parties at her mansion in Wansunt Road, Old Bexley, Kent (which has now been replaced by houses). He later became her second husband when they married in New Jersey on 6 July 1953. She said many times over the years "it started with a squabble, then he carried me off to bed." She took him to Hollywood and introduced him to all the right people, and they partied with Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Doris Day and Rock Hudson. As his career took off, hers started to slide. Resident in New York, Hollywood and Llanelli, the marriage lasted until 1961, when Moore left her and moved in with Luisa Mattioli. Moore was unable to marry legally until Squires granted him a divorce in 1969 – the day on which Squires was convicted of drunk driving.[2]

Returning to living in the UK, Squires had a career revival in the late 1960s at the age of 55 with a set of three singles making the UK Singles Chart, including a cover of "My Way". New albums and concerts followed included a sell out set of concerts at the London Palladium. Squires herself had hired the Palladium for a series of shows, and they exceeded expectations and sold out of tickets within hours. A double album of the event was issued.

Later life

In 1971 she undertook the first of 30 court cases over the next 15 years. In 1971 she successfully sued the News of the World over the story "When Love Turned Sour", and was awarded £4,000. In 1972 she took out a libel action against the actor Kenneth More for mistakenly referring to Mattioli as Roger Moore's "wife" when he was still legally married to Squires. Michael Havers acted for Kenneth More, who won the case.[3][4] In 1973 she was charged with high kicking a taxi driver who tried to throw her out of his cab. She was also one of several artists charged with allegedly trying to bribe a BBC radio producer as part of a scheme to make him play her records; the case was dropped.[5][6]

In 1974 her Bexley mansion burned down, from which she escaped with her dog and all her love letters from Roger Moore. She then moved into a house in Bray next to the River Thames, which flooded three weeks later.

By 1982 she had been banned from the High Court, and had spent much of her fortune on legal fees. Her litigiousness was so excessive that, on 5 March 1987, the High Court declared her to be a "vexatious litigant", preventing her from commencing any further legal actions without the permission of the Court.[7] In 1988 following bankruptcy proceedings she lost her home in Bray, to which she returned the following night to recover her love letters from Moore. Her last concert was in 1990, to pay her Community Charge (poll tax).

Squires was provided with a home in Trebanog, Rhondda, South Wales by a fan, Esme Coles. Squires retired there a recluse, and died in 1998 of lung cancer, aged 83, in Llwynypia Hospital, Rhondda. Her remains are interred in a family plot in Streatham Park Cemetery, south London.

Hit singles

Legacy

On 20 May 2013, a commemorative blue plaque was unveiled outside Aston House on New Road in Llanelli, where Squires and her family took up residence in her fifteenth year. Financed by Roger Moore, the plaque had been created 18 months previously. The unveiling was performed by Ruth Madoc, who was portraying the older Dorothy Squires in the play, Say It With Flowers, by Meic Povey and Johnny Tudor.[9] Following its premiere engagement at the Sherman Cymru Theatre, Cardiff, in 2013, the play toured across Wales.[10] A previous staged tribute to her, Dorothy Squires: Mrs Roger Moore, written by Richard Stirling and starring Al Pillay in the title role, had premiered at the White Bear Theatre in London on 6 June 2012, with a subsequent engagement at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August that year.[11]

Selected filmography

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of 50s Music (1st ed.). London: Virgin Books. p. 414.  
  2. ^ BBC, April 14, 1998, Obituaries, Dorothy Squires dies at 83
  3. ^ Davies, Hugh (10 October 2000). "Roger Moore pays wife £10m in divorce deal". Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2010. When the actor Kenneth More introduced the couple at a charity event as "Mr Roger Moore and his wife", she sued him too, for libel. 
  4. ^ More, Kenneth (1978). More Or Less. Hodder And Stoughton.  
  5. ^ "Record-Plugging Scandals Hit British Broadcasting". Nashua Telegraph. 18 May 1973. p. 5. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Payola Scandal Hits British Broadcasting". St Petersburg Independent. 18 May 1973. p. 20A. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Vexatious Litigants".  
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 523.  
  9. ^ "Sir Roger pays for Dorothy Squires' plaque". Llanellistar.co.uk. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Sherman Cymru – Say It With Flowers". ShermanCymru.co.uk/. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "BWW Reviews: Dorothy Squires Mrs Roger Moore, White Bear Theatre, June 7, 2012". WestEnd.BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 

External links

  • The story of Dorothy Squires at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 December 2002)
  • Dorothy Squires biography from BBC Wales
  • Webfantastic.co.uk biography
  • Dorothy Squires homepage
  • Dorothy Squires information and Blue Plaque from Llanelli Community Heritage
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