Bernard William Jewry (27 September 1942 – 23 October 2014), known as Alvin Stardust, was an English pop singer and stage actor. Performing first as Shane Fenton, Stardust's stage and screen career spanned over a half-century. He is best known for singles released in the 1970s and 1980s, including "My Coo Ca Choo", the UK Singles Chart-topper "Jealous Mind", and "I Feel Like Buddy Holly".
Bernard William Jewry was born 27 September 1942 in Muswell Hill, North London. Moving to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, at a young age, Jewry attended the Southwell Minster Collegiate Grammar School (now Southwell Minster School) in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, near Newark-upon-Trent, as a boarder. He made his stage debut in pantomime at the age of four.
In the early 1960s, Shane Fenton and the Fentones were an unknown teenage band who recorded a demo tape and mailed it in to a BBC programme with the hope of being picked to appear on television. While awaiting a reply from the BBC, the band's 17-year-old singer Shane Fenton (whose real name was Johnny Theakston) died as a result of the rheumatic fever he had suffered in childhood.
The rest of the band (guitarists Jerry Wilcox and Mick Eyre, bassist Graham George Squires and drummer Tony Hinchcliffe) decided to break up, but then unexpectedly received a letter from the BBC inviting them to come to London to audition in person for the programme. Theakston's mother asked the band to stay together, and to keep its name, in honour of her son's memory. Jewry, who was a roadie with the group at the time, was asked to join the band and to use Shane Fenton as a pseudonym. The combo had a handful of hits in the UK Singles Chart, basing their sound on that of the Shadows: "I'm A Moody Guy", "Walk Away", "It's All Over Now" and their biggest hit, "Cindy's Birthday". These and their subsequent misses were all on Parlophone.
Jewry disappeared from the spotlight for a decade after the break-up of the Fentones, working in music management and performing at small venues with his wife Iris Caldwell, the sister of Rory Storm. During the early 1970s, however, Jewry acquired a new persona, Alvin Stardust, cashing in on the glam rock bandwagon. His new name was given to him by Peter Shelley, the co-founder (with Michael Levy) of Magnet Records, who had found himself unable to continue as Alvin Stardust when "My Coo Ca Choo" charted in 1973. Hal Carter, Fenton's manager, suggested his client as a substitute.
Stardust had further chart successes with the hits "Jealous Mind" (UK No. 1.), "You, You, You", "Red Dress" and "Good Love Can Never Die". In total, he amassed seven Top Ten entries, in a chart span lasting almost 25 years.
"Pretend" was a hit in the United Kingdom in 1981, reaching number four in the UK Singles Chart. It reached number one in the Dutch Top 40 in November, 1981. The song was also successful in Portugal in 1983.
The singles "I Feel Like Buddy Holly", written and produced by Mike Batt and "I Won't Run Away" reached number 7 in the UK Singles Chart, in 1984. "So Near To Christmas" was a minor hit, No. 29, in the same year.
He participated in A Song for Europe, the UK qualifying heat of the Eurovision Song Contest, in 1985, with the song "The Clock on the Wall". He finished in third place behind Vikki and Kerri Wells.
Stardust also starred in the UK tour of Godspell and played Uriah Heep in David Copperfield – The Musical and Sir Billy Butlin in The Butlin Story at the London Palladium. In 2005 he starred as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, also at the London Palladium.
Stardust has numerous television appearances to his credit, and continued to tour as a performer and singer. In 1989, he also hosted his very own Sunday morning children's TV series on ITV called It's Stardust. It featured stories, songs, poems, jokes and also cartoons and shows for younger children including The Adventures of Parsley, Little Miss and Satellite City.
During one show, in 1994, he was performing "My Coo Ca Choo" when one of the pyrotechnics went wrong and blew up in his face, knocking him to the ground. After a night in hospital, he was checked out the next day with no major problems.
In 2011, Stardust made a return to the stage as a singer rather than an actor, and was due to play the Arts Guild Theatre in Greenock on 28 October.
Stardust was married three times. His first marriage was to Iris Caldwell, sister of Rory Storm and an ex-girlfriend of both George Harrison and Paul McCartney, having grown up with them in Liverpool. In 1981, Stardust married the actress Liza Goddard. Their daughter, Sophie Jewry, was critically injured at the age of two months after she fell down a set of stairs and suffered a severe fracture of the skull. She later recovered from her injuries. Stardust was married to the actress and choreographer Julie Paton at the time of his death.
Stardust died after a brief illness; this was confirmed by his manager on the morning of 23 October 2014. His death came just weeks before he was due to release his first album after 30 years. He had recently been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and died at home with his wife and family around him