Shirley Bassey Bio, Net Worth, Husband, Kids, Parents, Age, Facts
Shirley Bassey is a Welsh singer who is widely regarded as one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain. She is best known for her powerful voice and for recording the theme songs to the James Bond films "Goldfinger", "Diamonds Are Forever", and "Moonraker". She began performing as a teenager in 1953 and after six years, she became the first Welsh person to gain a number-one single on the UK Singles Chart in 1959. In the year 2020, she became the first female artist to chart an album in the Top 40 of the UK Albums Chart in seven consecutive decades with her album "I Owe It All To You". She has also appeared in many TV shows as well as she hosted her own variety series "Shirley Bassey". She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts in 1999. Her song "Goldfinger" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.
Shirley Bassey Opens BAFTA Awards With "Diamonds Are Forever"
Legendary Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey opened the 2022 BAFTAs with a stunning performance of the iconic James Bond theme song Diamonds Are Forever. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, the 85-year-old delighted audiences as she stepped out in a gorgeous gold sequined dress and gave a stellar performance. She received a standing ovation from guests at the Royal Albert Hall and many viewers took to Twitter to express their love of the performance and of her. Many expressed their surprise at the superstar's age, as one said: "Shirley Bassey on the BAFTAs. 85 years old. Still utterly jaw-dropping and show-stopping." Diamonds Are Forever is not the only James Bond theme tune Dame Shirley is behind as her work also includes Goldfinger and Moonraker.
What is Shirley Bassey famous for?
- Being a singer who is known for her career longevity, and powerful voice.
- For her work on the theme songs for the James Bond movies Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, and Moonraker.
Who were Shirley Bassey's parents?
Shirley Bassey took birth on 8th January 1937 with the birth name of Shirley Veronica Bassey. She is from Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales. She holds Welsh nationality. Shirley was born the sixth and youngest child of Henry Bassey (father) and Eliza Jane Start (mother). She spent her early childhood in the nearby community of Splott. Her father was Nigerian, and her mother came from Teesside. Thus, she belongs to Mixed ethnicity. Two of her mum's four children from previous relationships lived in the Bassey household. Her mother listed her first husband, Alfred Metcalfe, as her own father in the registry of her marriage to Henry Bassey. Eliza and Henry's second child died in infancy, so Shirley was born into a household of four siblings; three sisters, two half-sisters, and one brother. Capricorn is his zodiac sign and she follows the Christianity religion.
Shirley attended the Moorland Road School. At the age of 14, she left the Splott Secondary Modern School. Moreover, she also worked at Curran Steels and, in the evenings and weekends, sang in local pubs and clubs from an early age.
Shirley Bassey Career Timeline
- Shirley signed a contract with Columbia Productions for two performances at the salary of £10 on 17th December 1953.
- She toured various theatres until she was noticed by the impresario Jack Hylton in September 1955 who invited
- her to feature in Al Read's Such Is Life which opened on December 14, 1955, at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End.
- After that, she recorded her first single, "Burn My Candle" in February 1956.
- In February 1957, she had her first hit with "The Banana Boat Song", which reached No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart.
- Next, she made her American stage début in Las Vegas at El Rancho Vegas in February 1957.
- Her singles were followed by "If I Had a Needle and Thread" b/w "Tonight My Heart She Is Crying".
- She starred in "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" for the first time on April 28, 1957.
- She recorded two singles; "As I Love You", "Hands Across the Sea" in mid-1958 which was then followed by "Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me". Both records would end up occupying the top 3 at the same time in 1959.
- After that, she signed to EMI's Columbia label and released the album "The Fabulous Shirley Bassey" which reached No. 12 on the UK Albums chart.
- Her 1960 recording of "As Long As He Needs Me" from Lionel Bart's Oliver! peaked at No. 2, and had a chart run of 30 weeks.
- She made her American television début on The Ed Sullivan Show on 13th November 1960.
- In 1961, the double A-side "Reach for the Stars"/"Climb Ev'ry Mountain" reached number-one. Her single "I'll Get By" peaked at No. 10.
- She then signed to United Artists Records in August 1961.
- In 1962, her collaboration with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra, the album "Let's Face the Music" (1962), reached No. 12 in the UK album chart; and the single, "What Now My Love" made it to No. 5.
- She made her debut at New York's Carnegie Hall debut on 15th February 1964.
- She gained worldwide popularity when she sang "Goldfinger" for the eponymous 1964 James Bond movie.
- Her live 1965 album Shirley Bassey at the Pigalle, recorded during a sold-out run at the Pigalle in London, peaked at No. 15 on the UK album chart.
- She sang the title song for the James Bond spoof "The Liquidator" in 1965.
- She recorded a song for the next Bond film, "Thunderball" (1965).
- Her first album on United Artists, "I've Got a Song for You" (1966), spent one week on the chart.
- One of her best-known singles, "Big Spender" was released in 1967.
- After then, she appeared in NBC's "The Spring Thing" in 1969.
- Her 1970 year started with a BBC Television 'Special', "The Young Generation Meet Shirley Bassey". In the same year, her album "Something" was released. Other singles of this period included the hit "Never Never Never".
- She recorded the theme song for "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971).
- Additionally, she appeared on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, broadcast on Christmas Day in the year 1971.
- She recorded a series of successful albums on the United Artists label, including Something Else (1971); And I Love You So (1972); I Capricorn (1972); Never Never Never (1973); Good, Bad but Beautiful (1975); Love, Life and Feelings (1976); You Take My Heart Away (1977) and Yesterdays (1978). Moreover, two of Bassey's earlier LPs also entered the charts in the '70s: And We Were Lovers (1967, re-issued as Big Spender), and Let's Face the Music (1962, re-issued as What Now My Love).
- Her two compilations, The Shirley Bassey Singles Album (1975) and 25th Anniversary Album (1978), both made the top three of the UK charts: The Shirley Bassey Singles Album, her highest-charting album, reached number two and earned a gold disc, and the 25th Anniversary Album eventually went platinum.
- Her album, "The Magic Is You" (1979) featured a portrait by the photographer Francesco Scavullo.
- She starred in the six-episode "Shirley Bassey" show in 1976 which was then followed by a second series of six episodes in 1979.
- In the year 1979, she recorded the title theme song for the Bond film, "Moonraker".
- During her 1980s, she focused on charitable work and performed occasional concert tours throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States throughout most of the 1980s.
- She ended her contract with United Artists, whose former record division was now part of EMI, and began what she referred to as "semi-retirement".
- She also recorded an album entitled "All by Myself" (1982). As well as she made a TV special for Thames Television called "A Special Lady".
- Likewise, she recorded a duet with the French film actor Alain Delon, "Thought I'd Ring You" (1983).
- Her most famous song, "I Am What I Am" (1984), was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) which was followed by "There's No Place Like London" (1986).
- She recorded an album of James Bond themes, "The Bond Collection" in 1987.
- She also provided vocals for Swiss artists Yello on "The Rhythm Divine" (1987).
- Similarly, she released the five-CD box set Bassey – The EMI/UA Years 1959–1979 in the year 1994.
- She collaborated with Chris Rea in the film "La Passione" (1996).
- She next appeared in the film as herself and released the single "'Disco' La Passione".
- She performed the official song for the Rugby World Cup, "World in Union" as well.
- She was the principal artiste at the Duke of Edinburgh’s 80th birthday celebration in 2001.
- Her new album, "Get the Party Started", was subsequently released on 25th June 2007 and entered the UK Albums Chart at number six.
- She recorded the album The Performance (2009). She next performed several of the new songs from The Performance in November 2009 on various TV shows: The Graham Norton Show, The Paul O'Grady Show, and as the guest singer on Strictly Come Dancing.
- She performed "I'm Still Here" and "The Lady Is A Tramp" on 13th November 2014.
- She released another album, Hello Like Before, on 17th November 2014.
- She starred in a 60-minute BBC broadcast hosted by David Walliams in December 2016.
- She performed at UNICEF's Summer Gala in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, singing "Goldfinger", "Diamonds Are Forever" and "S'Wonderful" on 9th August 2019.
- She appeared on the Ball & Boe TV Christmas Special on Friday 20th December 2019.
- In the year 2020, she released her album, "I Owe It All To You". She became the first female artist to chart an album in the top 40 of the UK Albums Chart in seven consecutive decades.
Shirley Bassey Books
- "Shirley Bassey: Diamonds Are Forever" – Mary Long (2017)
- Miss Shirley Bassey – John L. Williams (2010) – London: Quercus.
- Shirley Bassey: Diamond Diva – Peter Hogan (2008)
- Cardiff: Rebirth of a Capital (Foreword by Shirley Bassey) – Ungersma, Hurn (2005)
- Shirley Bassey: Welsh History Stories – Evans, Stokes, ap Emlyn, ap Emlyn (2003)
- Shirley Bassey: An appreciation – Muriel Burgess (1998, reprinted 1999)
- My Life on Record and in Concert – Shirley Bassey (Bloomsbury, 1998)
- The Trial of Shirley Bassey – A Play in One Act – Alexander Baron (1998)
- Shirley Bassey: This Is My Life (Piano/vocal/guitar) – Sheet music book
- Shirley Bassey: You're the Voice (Piano/vocal/guitar) – Sheet music book
- Guinness Book of British Hit Singles – 14th Edition
- Guinness Book of British Hit Singles – 16th Edition
- Guinness Book of British Hit Albums – 7th Edition
- The Book of Golden Discs – 2nd Edition
- The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits
Shirley Bassey Awards and Achievements
- 1972: Best Female Singer – TV Times
- 1973: Best Female Singer – TV Times
- 1974: Best Female Entertainer – American Guild of Variety Artists
- 1976: Best Female Singer – Music Week
- 1976: EMI Award for twenty years as a recording artist – UK
- 1977: Best British Female Solo Artist in the previous 25 years – BRIT Award
- 1977: Golden Rose of Montreux nomination for Shirley Bassey
- 1991: Walk of Fame, Star Boulevard – plaque unveiled in Rotterdam
- 1995: Showbusiness Personality of the Year – Variety Club of Great Britain
- 1999: Légion d'Honneur – France
- 2003: Outstanding Contribution to Music – National Music Awards, UK
- 2003: Lifetime Achievement Award (inaugural award) – Western Mail Welsh Woman of the Year Awards
- 2004: Artist for Peace Award – UNESCO
- 2004: Welsh Legend Award, presented at the opening of the Cardiff Millennium Centre
- 2013: Dorian Award, TV Musical Performance of the Year – Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association
- 2014: Lifetime Achievement Award – World Music Awards
- 2017: Hall of Fame Award, Jersey Style Awards
- 2017: Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Award
- Most Successful British Female Singer in 2000
- Made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000
- Named the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993
- Won the title of the Best Female Entertainer by the American Guild of Variety Artists in 1974
- Won the NME Award for the Favorite British Female Singer in 1959
- Best British Female Solo Artist at the 1st Brit Awards in 1977
- Awarded the freedom of her hometown, Cardiff, in a ceremony at City Hall on 17 May 2019
Who is Shirley Bassey's husband?
Shirley Bassey was a married woman previously. Shirley was first married to Kenneth Hume in 1961 which ended in 1964. The pair divorced in 1965 amidst the rumors of Bassey’s affair with actor Peter Finch. On 12th August 1968, Shirley married her second husband, Sergio Novak, the assistant manager of the Excelsior Hotel in Venice. During this time, Novak was Bassey's manager, and they adopted Mark, her grand-nephew. They later separated via divorce in 1979. The fathers of Bassey's two daughters, Sharon Bassey (a.k.a. Sharon Novak, born 1954) and Samantha Bassey (a.k.a. Samantha Novak, born 1963), are unknown at the moment. She had Sharon at the age of 17 and her sister Ella raised her as her own daughter until the 1960s. Her first husband suggested that Samantha, born during the couple's marriage, was the result of an affair between Bassey and Peter Finch. Samantha, age 21, was found dead in the River Avon in Bristol, England in 1985. Bassey has four grandsons through her surviving daughter, Sharon Novak. In the year 2018, she reported that she had a great-granddaughter.
At present, Shirley is leading a single life happily with her children. She is currently residing in Monaco. Her sexual orientation is straight.
What is Shirley Bassey's net worth?
Shirley Bassey is a talented and successful singer from Wales. As of 2022, the net worth of Shirley Bassey is estimated to have $185 million. She owes her fortune to smart stock investments, substantial property holdings, lucrative endorsement deals with CoverGirl cosmetics. She also owns several restaurants (the “Fat Bassey Burger” chain) in Cardiff, a Football Team (the “Cardiff Angels”), has launched her own brand of Vodka (Pure Wonderbassey - Wales), and is tackling the juniors market with a top-selling perfume (With Love from Shirley) and a fashion line called “Shirley Bassey Seduction”. Her career spans more than 60 years, during which she has released over 30 studio albums. She is making an annual salary of millions of dollars which she has not revealed yet. Today, she is living a standard lifestyle from her earnings. Despite her age, she remains active even today. She has taken the No. 1 spot on People With Money’s top 10 highest-paid singers for 2022 with an estimated $58 million in combined earnings between February 2021 and February 2022, a nearly $30 million lead over her closest competition. In compiling this yearly list, the magazine considers factors such as upfront pay, profit participation, residuals, endorsements, and advertising work.
What height is Shirley Bassey?
Shirley Bassey is a beautiful singer who stands at the perfect height of 5 feet 3 inches whereas his exact body weight has not been revealed yet. Her body measurement is 32-28-32 inches (breast-waist-hip). She has an average body build with light brown eyes color and her hair color is dark brown. On 23rd May 2008, she was rushed to hospital in Monaco to have an emergency operation on her stomach after complaining of abdominal pains.
Did You Know?
- She performed at a gala commemorating the second anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in Washington, D.C. in January 1963.
- She appeared on the cover of Ebony magazine in March 1963.
- She was discouraged by school teachers from having such a powerful voice. She left school when she was 14 to sing in public houses.
- She has been involved with a lot of charitable works, including a performance on behalf of the Rainforest Foundation Fund.
- She made her first American TV appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in November 1960.