Death of Vernon Nesbeth

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By Keith Nicol

THE entertainment world lost another beloved son on Tuesday with the sudden passing of Vernon Nesbeth.

Vernon and wife Wendy Nesbeth decided it was time to go into semi-retirement and so they sold up and moved to Torrevieja, where they settled in the Torreta area of the city on January 4th, 2004.

You could regularly find them having breakfast or a drink in one of the local cafes however, most people they came into contact with had little or no idea of the couple’s long standing background in the British entertainment scene during the late 1950s and 60s.

Always known for the huge smile on his face, he continued to work out on a daily basis, held a 1st degree black belt in martial arts and as an actor, was best known for Black Joy (1977), Wolcott (1981) and Happy Families (1985). His wife Wendy is a former professional dancer and although she resisted Vernon’s first attempts to chat her up, they became a couple, then went their separate professional ways, and then finally got back together again and married 45 years ago.

A founder member of the Southlanders, who were the longest running male vocal group in British pop music history. They were one of the very first Doo-Wop groups in the UK and while their biggest commercial hit was 1958’s cover version of “Alone”, which sold over one million copies; the song they are most identified with is “I am a Mole and I Live in a Hole”  from 1958. The unforgettable title line from the song was spoken by the group’s bass voice Harry Wilmot, father of comedian Gary Wilmot, however the song failed to make the UK Singles Chart.

They became one of the UK’s most successful cabaret acts, touring all over the world in hotels, theatres, on cruise ships (including the QE2), stadiums, plus Vernon performed in television, film and varied cabaret rooms for almost 60 years, including a short stint in the Black Mikado in 1975.

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