Frankie Vaughan

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Frank Ableson

Birthdate: (71)
Birthplace: Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Death: September 17, 1999 (71)
High Wycomb, Buckinghamshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Isaac Ableson and Leah Kozak
Husband of Private
Father of David Ableson; Private and Private
Brother of Private; Private and Private

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Frankie Vaughan

Frank Abelsohn became Frankie Vaughan, an extremely well known British singer and entertainer.

The name 'Vaughan' came from a grandmother whose first grandson he was, who used to call Frank "my number one" grandson, in whose Russian accent "one" sounded like "Vaughan." - information taken off Wikipedia.

Frank had three children - two girs and a boy; The names of the girls are unknown to Leila Kleiman, Frank's first cousin.

For further biographical information, look on the internet.

(This note by Frank Lippa - November 2008)

Added December 2009: From the Liverpool Daily Post, 15 October 2008:

"To most of us whose knee joints now groan, he was a rare old dandy, a supreme, high-kicking master of the stage – spinning his boater and twirling his cane with the best of them, while crooning for the moonlight and quickening lonely hearts.

For us, he was the bridge between music-hall and rock and roll.

But is he being forgotten, slipping from the pantheon of great Liverpool stars, despite his unique contribution to showbiz?

The question troubles his widow, to whom he will always be the most romantic man in the world, her handsome boy, still able to make the roses bloom, heart-red, on their wedding anniversary.

Of course, he’s gone in the sense that we all understand it. Frankie Vaughan died in 1999, but to her he is always there.

Other Liverpool stars, such as Billy Fury, John Lennon and George Harrison, have shone just as brightly after their deaths. Statues have been sculpted to celebrate their enduring popularity.

But that hasn’t happened yet for Frankie, though, in the 1950s and 60s, he scored 30 Top 30 entries, including two number ones and nine other top-tenners. He also appeared in films, most significantly, Let’s Make Love (1961), where he famously resisted the amorous advances of his co-star, Marilyn Monroe.

Frankie’s widow, Stella Vaughan, is hoping all that will change with the release of a double disc set, featuring a 90-minute DVD of previously unseen performances and interviews with friends, celebrities and admirers, as well as a 16-song CD.

“A very funny thing happened after he died in the September,” she recalls. “Our anniversary was June 6. My son, David, and I went outside the front door. We had a rose tree at the side. The day before our anniversary, there were no flowers on it or anything. But, on our anniversary, there were 12 roses. That is absolutely true. I have a photograph taken with them and I took one of the roses and I pressed it.”

As a handsome man, a dark six-footer, with what the ladies might coyly call a manly physique, Frankie, or Frank, as Stella always called him, was the most romantic and sexy singer before skiffle and rock and roll.

He was born in 1928, as the Great Depression was about to grip the country. His father, Isaac, had an upholstery shop on Lodge Lane, and the family lived in Devon Street, near London Road, before moving to Eversley Street, off Granby Street, in the racially mixed Liverpool 8 district. Frankie was strongly aware of Liverpool’s underworld and the temptations of crime.

This knowledge would influence his later work with boys’ clubs and the knife and razor gangs in Glasgow. In 1964, he served a committee set up to advise on juvenile delinquency. Four years later, he persuaded Glaswegian youths to give up their weapons.

With a slight improvement in their circumstances, the hard-working Ablesons next settled on Smithdown Road, while Frankie attended the Harrison Jones School and began singing in the choir at the Synagogue of the Old Hebrew Congregation, on Princes Road, receiving 12 shillings and sixpence (about 65p) a week.

His mother was a seamstress and his father was constantly busy, so Frankie spent much time with his grandmother, Freda Kozak, who showed him the sites of Merseyside, including the Pier Head and New Brighton, and various museums and galleries.

On the outbreak of war, Frankie was evacuated, first to Cumbria, and then Lancaster, where he joined the local boys’ club, becoming a fine boxer, footballer and a county table-tennis player.

Art was also luring Frankie and, when he was 14, his thesis on the Royal Liver Building won him a scholarship to the Lancaster College of Art. He transferred to Leeds College, when the family moved again.

He was able to reach the intermediate stage of his course before he was called up for service with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Egypt and Malta.

On returning to Civvy Street, Frankie realised teaching wouldn’t make him rich, but singing might. He made his debut at the Leeds Empire during the university rag week in 1951, but nothing much came from it, until a letter of introduction to Bernard Delfont, the impresario, led to his career’s first big break at the Kingston Empire, near London.

His theme song, Give Me the Moonlight, the hits, shows and movies followed. Soon, he had adopted and modified the sartorial style of his friend Hetty King (1883-1972), the music-hall turn famed for her male impersonations, with whom he toured in the early days.

Oh, and that name? His old grandmother had called him her “number one grandson”. But in her Russian accent, the “one” sounded like “vorn” or Vaughan.

To Stella, of course, all the honours and the popularity were very welcome, but more than any of that he was a loving husband and father of their three children, David, Susan and Andrew.

“He was a good dad, Frank,” says Stella. “Oh, he loved his children. He idolised them. He spoilt them. I was the one who had to discipline them because, when he was first on tour in variety, he would be away a week. He didn’t want to chastise the children if they had been naughty, because he was only there for the day.”

Frank’s upbringing fired his ambition. “It wasn’t so much tough as very working-class,” says Stella, who still lives in their home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, the county where Frankie became a deputy lieutenant. “I have still got the furniture that his father made us, two big settees and two big armchairs. He was a wonderful, wonderful craftsman.”

Frankie and Stella Shock, who is shy about her age in the old-fashioned way, met immediately after he left the Army in 1949. His younger sister, Myra, had fixed up a date at the local Locarno, in Leeds. Frankie and Stella danced real close, and on the penny tram-ride home, they fell for each other. Later that night, he asked her to be his girlfriend “for ever”.

“I think this DVD and CD set are much needed,” Stella says. “I don’t know why, but after he passed away, there was not a great deal of mention of him. When people talk about pop artists and singers and so on, you get all the others mentioned. You don’t hear Frank mentioned much.

“Frank was a real stage entertainer. Some years ago, they were doing a tribute to Sammy Davis at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Sacha Distel, Tony Martin and others. When it was Frank’s turn, they all came to the side of the stage to watch him. They had never seen anyone work a stage like Frank.

“He was always very smart and never wore jeans or anything like that. Hetty King used to tell him that he must dress as though he was going to Buckingham Palace. You must afford the very best. He never, ever sat down in his stage clothes because they would crease.

“Frank left such a lovely legacy. I am not talking about possessions, but everybody loved him,” Stella continues. “As I speak to you now, I am looking at a wonderful photograph of him, looking quizzical. I talk to it regularly and give him things to do. If I have got any problems, I ask him to sort them out for me. Sometimes it works. I know he hears me. I know he helps the children. I think he is all around us, looking after us.”

And then she can listen to Stella by Starlight, as sung by Mr Moonlight.

THE new 90-minute DVD features tributes from Gloria Hunniford, Jimmy Tarbuck, Sir Tim Rice, Bert Weedon, Val Doonican, Rick Wakeman and Jess Conrad.

Moonlight, music and romance

FRANKIE VAUGHAN’S first film was These Dangerous Years (1957), about a soldier, who deserts and returns to Liverpool. Some of it was set on the Cast Iron shore, Dingle, which he had visited with his grandmother.

Wonderful Things (1958) was about a romantic fisherman in Gibraltar.

The Lady is a Square (1958) had a great cast of Frankie, Anna Neagle, Anthony Newley, Janette Scott and Wilfred Hyde-White, but it was not a great film.

In 1961, he went to Hollywood, as the hottest name in the UK, to appear in Let’s Make Love – now largely remembered for co-star Marilyn Monroe’s crush on Frankie. Her feelings were not reciprocated. “I’m a very happily married man. My wife is my lady,” he is reported to have said to her.

His final film, The Right Approach (also 1961), was about an opportunist trying to be a star.

But the hits kept rolling. They had begun in 1954 with Istanbul (number 11, 1954). Others included Green Door (2, 1956), Garden of Eden (1, 1957), Kisses Sweeter Than Wine (8, 1857), Kewpie Doll (10, 1958), Tower of Strength (1, 1961), Loop-de-Loop (5, 1963) and There Must Be A Way (7, 1967).

In 1997, Frankie was appointed CBE for his services to boys’ clubs, having been an OBE since 1965."

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Frankie Vaughan's Timeline

March 13, 1911
February 3, 1928
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
September 17, 1999
Age 71
High Wycomb, Buckinghamshire, England