Farewell to Maureen, who featured alongside legends
The funeral takes place in Lytham on Friday, April 9 of an entertainer who performed alongside Hollywood legends during the height of her career.
Maureen Coverdale – stage name Yvonne – was half of the International Speciality Apache Act, along with husband Eric, who died in 2012.
The couple’s act Yvonne, Michel and Erik performed during the golden era of Judy Garland, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra and from their Fylde base worked on films and many TV appearances across the world.
After retirement some 30 years ago, Maureen then had a new career as a voice and drama lecturer at Blackpool and The Fylde College.
Her daughter Tara said: “Mum and dad really enjoyed their showbusiness days and I was very proud of them.
“Mum’s life encompassed many facets, including working and treading the boards in London’s West End, being part of the international renowned speciality Apache act, and becoming an advocate for education by becoming a voice and drama lecturer to help foster the next generation in the arts.”
Following Eric’s death, Maureen described the act and their experiences to The Gazette.
She said: “We performed Dance Apache, not Apache as in the Apache Indian but in the French acrobatic version.
“We worked all over America, with a year at the Latin Quarter, New York, with a special guest appearance of Bob Hope; Madison Square Garden with Frank Sinatra; and also in Las Vegas with Liberace.
“We acted out the true story of the scene. We did neck swivels, fast spins, spins around the body, lifts and split-second timed ticks such as Eric catching me in mid-air as I ran and jumped at him. He would catch me between the legs, spin me round and throw me across the stage to slide the full length.
“Another time Eric would run at me while I was standing and I would go down onto the floor at the last minute as he dived over my head.
“The act finished with a neck to neck swivel between Eric and myself.
“Eric would time it so that I would open up the swivel while I was still spinning and in a split second timed a move to land me on the floor. Then he would fire a ‘gun’ and police sirens lights and whistles would go off.”
Friday’s funeral is at St Cuthbert’s Church, Lytham which was also the scene of Eric’s nine years ago. It will be held at noon and feature a horse-drawn carriage.
Details from funeral director Roland L. Whitehead and Daughter, on (01253) 780860.
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