Back stage pass

Engelbert Humperdinck "as the fans never see him" backstage in his dressing room in 1968 for a Gazette feature

Engelbert Humperdinck "as the fans never see him" backstage in his dressing room in 1968 for a Gazette feature

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A Gazette article on July 2, 1968, featured the headline: “Engelbert, as the fans never see him”.

And it was certainly true!

It’s hard to imagine a celebrity these days allowing the local newspaper such, um, access all areas freedom.

There wouldn’t be many pop stars these days who would welcome a reporter into their dressing room right before their show, and allowed them to chat and take photographs while dressed in a (quite small) towel.

On stage, he was the man who brought ecstatic girls and women in the audience to their feet.

But these Gazette pictures show him relaxing backstage at the ABC before his show – having just finished a tray of tea – bread and jam, strawberries and cream, while watching Wimbledon on TV.

Just one hour before stepping on-stage, he was happy to sit and talk – wearing a “miniature orange towelling wrap-around, a handsome sun tan and an equally handsome gold watch and ring”, so wrote Susan Greenhalgh.

She wrote: “Off stage, he’s equally devastating.”

He talked in the interview about the pleasures and pitfalls of being the 6ft 1ins Engelbert.

He said: “My arms are so long, I can’t find a shirt to fit me in the shops.”

He revealed all his clothes, both for leisure and for working, were made for him.

He told how he had little time to spend the money he was earning, with his time divided between the house he had taken at St Annes and the theatre.

His average day began around 10.30am when he would get up, have porridge for breakfast and then have lunch.

Next he would grab a couple of hours in the son, if he could find a secluded spot, he would go on the sands with his wife of five years, their four-year-old daughter and their sons, aged two years and eight weeks.

He told how he never went shopping, or to sun-soak on a crowded, busy beach – he couldn’t due to the crowds of girl fans.

Engelbert revealed he was spending time training a Dalmation dog and he liked to spend as much time as possible with his children. But he was strict on them appearing in the press or being photographed.

“I feel it’s my life”, he said.

And after the interview, he stepped out onstage – wearing an impeccably tailored suit, a broderie Anglaise shirt and his smile, showing his dazzling white teeth, launching into Release Me.