Glo­ria Hun­ni­ford

Glo­ria Hun­ni­ford OBE cel­e­brates her 70th year in show­biz with a look back at her life in the lime­lightÉ

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Contents -

Glo­ria Hun­ni­ford is talk­ing about her child­hood when she breaks into song. ‘Oh! The Dead­wood Stage is a-head­ing on over the hills…’ she war­bles in fine voice. And you can just imag­ine her as a teenager in Por­ta­d­own chan­nelling idol Doris Day as she sings her favourite num­bers from Calamity Jane.

Even as a five-year-old, Glo­ria sang into the Bake­lite ra­dio in her kitchen. If she heard peo­ple through the speaker, she fig­ured the BBC could hear her back and fame would beckon. Even­tu­ally, it did… but it came through work; singing – from the age of eight – in va­ri­ety shows, cabaret and dance bands.

A ra­dio in­ter­view about her first record re­lease led to Glo­ria be­ing of­fered a job pre­sent­ing… and the rest is his­tory. The 77-year-old was, how­ever, al­ways des­tined for show­biz. ‘From birth,’ she laughs. ‘I’d been called af­ter Glo­ria Swan­son.’ The Sun­set Boule­vard star be­ing a favourite of her fa­ther’s.

Glo­ria was the first woman to land a nightly show on Ul­ster TV and the first woman to have a day­time show on Ra­dio 2. She’s in­ter­viewed ev­ery­one who was any­one: Bette Davis, Au­drey Hep­burn, James Ste­wart, Kirk Dou­glas, Sammy Davis Jr and David Bowie to name but a few.

‘This sounds silly,’ she con­fesses. ‘But I’d watch all those movies with Doris Day in her won­der­ful clothes. I’d see those fab­u­lous frilly cur­tains on the win­dows, big Amer­i­can fridges and lux­u­ri­ous bath­rooms when we didn’t even have a bath­room. And I’d think, “One day, I’m go­ing to have that as well…”’

There’s a life out­side Por­ta­d­own? ‘Yes. That’s what’s driven me a lot over the years. I get a thing in my head and I’m de­ter­mined to do it, but it’s mostly been right place, right time. A great big dol­lop of luck. But you’ve got to make your luck work for you… and I do.’

Warm, witty and in­cred­i­bly open as we chat over tea, the trail­blaz­ing mother-of-three and granny-of-10 is ex­tremely mod­est about her ac­com­plish­ments. But as she cel­e­brates her

70th year in show­biz with the pub­li­ca­tion of her me­moirs, My Life, we dis­cuss some of her most mem­o­rable meet­ings.

‘You’ve got to make your luck work for you... and I do’

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