Newport – Cliff Gordon

Our first speaker of 2019 on 30th January was a regular, Will Cross, and we learnt from him about a Welsh entertainer who once was famous but now is almost forgotten. Cliff Gordon was born illegitimately in Llanelli in 1920. His first public performance was given as an impressionist at the age of 14. He later found fame as an entertainer (comedian and impressionist), as a playwright (with ‘Valley of Song’ his greatest success) and as an impresario with his discovery of the future superstar Shirley Bassey most significant.

Unfortunately his career started to falter because of two serious problems- alcoholism and his sexual tendencies- being homosexual when it was more than just something to be frowned at but in fact illegal. Cliff died in 1964 at the age of only 44 from cirrhosis of the liver shortly after marriage to a supportive wife.

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