Where are they now? Clodagh Rodgers
Ever wondered what happened to the stars of yesteryear? We take a look at the life of the Northern Irish hit-maker Clodagh Rodgers, ‘The Best Legs in Showbusiness’
At the height of her fame, Clodagh Rodgers had insured her voice for £1 million pounds, was officially given the title ‘The Best Legs in Showbusiness’ and was the best-selling female artist releasing a non-stop stream of hits.
But for the Irish beauty, showbusiness was in her blood from the very start. Born in 1947 in County Down, Clodagh was the daughter of a dancehall tour entrepreneur. He brought in artists from Alma Cogan to Johnny Cash and she made her first singing appearance with Jim Reeves on stage in Ballymena. “As a little girl I loved singing. I never felt pushed. I felt encouraged,” says Clodagh, now aged 71.
At the age of 15 her father moved them to England, knowing Clodagh’s potential to be a star and she began making singles as well as appearing in the musical films Just For Fun (1963) and It’s All Over Town (1964). By 1969 she was making the top five in the charts with hits such as Come Back and Shake Me and Goodnight Midnight.
In 1971 she took her smash-hit Jack in The Box to the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, where she caused some controversy by representing the UK, despite being originally Irish. “We did get a couple of threats about it, although they were kept secret from me at the time. I had two security guards protecting me and I was booed, both in the Gaiety Theatre and when I arrived for the aftershow party at Dublin Castle. I knew why they were doing it but I’ve never said, ‘I’m British’, I always say ‘I’m Irish’.”
Clodagh came fourth in the contest but became a household name, working with the likes of Morecambe & Wise, The Two Ronnies, Tommy Cooper, Bob Monkhouse and Cilla Black.
But despite her heady fame, she never turned to the vices many other singers of the time were drawn to. “Drugs never crossed my path. I was so naïve I thought a joint was a Sunday roast.”
From 1968-1979, Clodagh was married to her manager John Morris and later married musician Ian Sorbie with whom she ran a restaurant in Paignton until they went bankrupt. Ian died from a brain tumour at the age of 45 in 1995.
Her children have also followed in her footsteps as son Matt, from her marriage to John, is a movie standin for Brad Pitt while her other son, Sam, from her relationship with Ian, used to work on The X Factor and is a co-ordinator on films.
As for Clodagh, who starred as Mrs Riley in ITV’s The Bill in 2001, she says she hasn’t sung since she lost Ian.
“I was in Blood Brothers that year and afterwards I thought ‘I’m done with it now… I don’t want this life anymore’. I’ll never sing in public again. I’ve hung up the dresses and the shoes. I’m too old to do that now, but people have got lovely memories of me in my 20s and 30s.
“I was very lucky I made it – lots of people who were very talented never made it. I did it all and it was great, but you just move on.”
Clodagh’s amazing singing career spanned three decades
Clodagh with eldest son Matt, a body-double for Brad Pitt!