Anthony George Newley was born on 24 September 1931. He grew up around Hackney in the East End of London and began acting in his teens.
He attended the Italia Conti Stage School and starred in movies like The Little Ballerina, and in 1948 played his much-remembered role of the Artful Dodger in David Lean’s Oliver.
Newley established himself as a singer, playing the role of Jeep Jackson – a rock & roll star – in Idle On Parade (1959).
He recorded the theme song which made the Top 30, while the Jerry Lordan ballad I’ve Waited So Long (also from the film) soared to #3.
The actor turned pop star took his cover version of Frankie Avalon‘s US #1 (Why) to the top of the British charts on 5 February 1960. He was back at the top again in April with Do You Mind?
Newley’s chart career then started to fade, although his personal fortunes were assured when he co-wrote another ‘question’ song, What Kind Of Fool Am I?
Newley was married to Ann Lynn from 1956 to 1963, but the marriage ended in divorce. They had a son but he died in infancy from a congenital infirmity.
He was then married to the actress Joan Collins from 1963 to 1971. The couple had two children, Tara Newley and Sasha Newley.
Tara became a broadcaster in England and Sacha is a renowned portrait artist based in New York and represented by four paintings in the National Portrait Gallery (United States) in Washington DC.
Newley’s third wife was former air hostess Dareth Rich, and they also had two children, Shelby and Christopher.
Newley passed away on 14 April 1999 in Jensen Beach, Florida, from renal cancer at the age of 67. He was said to have died in the arms of his companion, the designer Gina Fratini.