Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold George Dorsey in Madras, India, in 1936) had been singing for years without great success as Gerry Dorsey.
Then in 1967 he found a new name – courtesy of his manager (and former flatmate), Gordon Mills, who also managed Tom Jones – and his Release Me single went to #1 in the British charts.
He followed it with a long succession of easy listening successes including The Last Waltz, Man Without Love, Les Bicyclettes de Belsize and The Way It Used To Be.
As Top 40 radio became less hospitable to his kind of balladry and a few Broadway influences found their way into his music, Humperdinck concentrated on selling albums and on live performances, developing lavish stage presentations that made him a natural for Las Vegas and similar venues.
Humperdinck returned to the US charts in 1976 with a surprise Top Ten single, After The Loving, and in 1987 RCA issued his first album in a decade, entitled Remember I Love You.
He has sold over 130 million records and is reputed to have the largest fan club in the world.
Dorsey was the ninth of ten children, and he left school at 15 to earn £1.40 a week in a shoe factory, handing most of it over to his mother, Olive.
These days he owns five homes around the world (he used to own Jayne Mansfield’s former LA house but traded it for a more manageable place), he has owned 15 Rolls Royces, and estimates of his wealth range from £72 million to £100 million.
Despite rumours of affairs and the number of women who have claimed to have borne his children, he has remained married for 40 years to his wife, Patricia. In earlier decades there were numerous stories of adulterous liaisons. Kathy Jetter, who was an 18-year-old Sunday school teacher and a virgin when she met Engelbert, won a court order against him for maintenance of her daughter, Jennifer, born in 1977.
Showgirl Diane Vincent received a one-off payment in respect of her daughter, Angelique, but Engelbert has never acknowledged paternity of either child.