The following Biography is based On the media coverage and the public comments made by Lena Zavaroni, her family and friends

4 November 1963

Archive Photo of the Rankin Memorial Hospital
Lena Hilda Zavaroni was born on 4 November 1963 in Rankin Memorial Hospital, Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland, United Kingdom to Victor Zavaroni (December 1939) and Hilda Catherine (Jordan) Zavaroni (7 January 1941-December 1989).

Early Life

Rothesay Pier
Lena grew up in the small town of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute.

Zavaroni's On The Isle of Bute

One of three Restaurants named Zavaroni's
Her parents owned a fish and chip shop called Zavaroni's.

Lena Zavaroni as a toddler

22 March 1966

Her sister Carla was born on 22 March 1966.

Tommy Scott And The Summer Of 1973

It was during the summer of 1973 that the Lena Zavaroni success story really began. Record producer Tommy Scott happened to be on vacation in Rothesay and heard Lena singing in the “Athletic Bar” with the Zavaroni Family Band. Tommy’s old buddy; 60’s impresario Phil Solomon takes up the story.

I was looking for a girl singer at the time. Tommy rang me up and said he’d found a sensational little girl up in Scotland, so we flew up to Glasgow and took a ferryboat to the Isle of Bute. On the boat, Tommy suddenly turned to me and said, ‘Oh, incidentally, the girl’s only nine!’ I could have killed him. He knew I’d dealt with kids in the past and had vowed never to work with them again because they are too much trouble. Anyway, Tommy kept insisting that this child was different, but I was in a dark mood by the time we got to Rothesay. We picked this little girl up and went to a deserted dance hall called “The Pavilion” to see her act. Her uncle and father accompanied her and suddenly I heard this incredible voice singing the theme from “The Godfather.” It took only eight bars, and I knew this was a fantastic talent.

From this moment, under the management of Dorothy Solomon, Phil Solomon's partner, Lena enjoyed outstanding success.

Phil Solomon


The above is just one of many versions of how Lena Zavaroni was first discovered in an article by Richard Barber for the express it is stated that Tommy Scott was walking past the chippie when he heard Lena singing. Also read the comment section for the Dutch magazine "Story" dated 21 June 1974.

I knew this was a fantastic talent

  • I hope This is a misquote.
  • This is not a nice thing to call a human being.
  • This could explain the lack of care show towards Lena Zavaroni by her management team.
  • This lack of care can't be justified by claiming I was only Lena Zavaroni's manager, not when you had a 10 year-old living in your home.

One Life Two Paths

Dorothy and Phil Solomon

The start of the two paths her life would take One to Stardom the other to Anorexia and Depression.

Lena moved to London to stay with her managers Dorothy and Phil Solomon.

She had to adapt to a new way of life; such as discovering lifts, and traffic lights and learning about napkins for the first time.

One of the first things Lena's agent did for Lena was to put her on a diet.

The Free Library

SHE set out on the path to fame as a healthy, happy 10-year-old with a voice to die for and everything to live for.

But by the time the world had woken up to Scottish singer Lena Zavaroni's talent, her agent had put her on a diet.

Lena's new eating regime was meant to be a healthy and nutritious diet.

But it sowed the seeds in the mind of the young star and put her on a roller-coaster ride that would lead to her tragic death at the age of 36 35.

The Free Library, 15 February 2000


What is unclear about the situation with Lena living in London with her managers is who was taking parental responsibility.

One would think it would still be her mother and father, but if that's the case did her managers ask for permission to put Lena on a diet?


The Free Library

The article from The Free Library goes on to say...

She was on a crash course to self-destruction and she still wasn't even old enough to leave primary school. Now, for the first time since the anorexic star's death last October, her family have spoken about the agony of watching Bute-born Lena starve herself.

They have recalled how the happy little 10-year-old singer was suddenly put on a diet after moving from her Rothesay home to stay with her London agent, Dorothy Solomon.

The Free Library, 15 February 2000


If the media is correct in their comments then they are implying that Lena Zavaroni's family are only showing retrospective concern, as back in 1974 they made the choice to let their daughter go and stay with her agent.

Saying it's what Lena Zavaroni wanted is no justification for letting her go. Parental control is about saying no to some things after all Dorothy Solomon was a stranger to them all at that time. The media comments seem to implied they had given up their Parental responsibilities as they took no action to prevent Lena Zavaroni from being put on a diet in 1974 but in 2000 claim that they had not agree to the diet.


John McCready

On Monday 7 January 1974 Lena would make her debut TV appearance on Opportunity Knocks.

Lena was currently our hottest act, having just completed a five-week run on the TV talent show OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS and now with the charting single and album, "Ma, He's Making Eyes at Me". Time goes by and Lena’s new record album is overdue for delivery and we are in danger of not having the income included in our quarterly sales. AJ and I discuss the situation and I am instructed to inform Phil that he is in breach of contract and that we will take the legal action to have delivery of the recording.
John McCready - The Wrath Of Solomon - 11 December 2009

It Was Acceptable To Comment On A Minor's Weight And Size

The comments did not just go on behind the scenes some interviewers also seemed to find it acceptable to question a minor about her weight and nobody seemed to be challenging the treatment of Lena behind the scenes.


Lena Zavaroni

When they tried to fit me into those costumes, they would talk about my weight. I kept wondering how they expected me to fit into these dresses. I was a plump little girl and I was also developing into a woman. I wanted to be just right for them but I had to go to all these breakfasts, dinners and lunches.” She added: “I only became fanatical about not eating when the pressure became too much. I just wanted to have a nice shape.
Lena Zavaroni via Internet Debris - 27 June 2011

Lena Zavaroni

I've got to wear all these silly costumes and try and get into them and be with it for the TV.
Lena Zavaroni


The comments made by Lena Zavaroni and the continuing questioning of her weight in interviews created the myth that because of her size the TV Companies and/or her management team could not find cloths to fit her (the reality was more likely a way of saving money).

Unlike any other star the young Lena Zavaroni was to be seen wearing the same cloths again and again and so unsurprisingly when we look back she had become anorexic, yet the person(s) responsible for her physical and emotional abuse have never been charged or investigated.

As well as being anorexic Lena Zavaroni had to deal with depression that also lasted the rest of her life.

She underwent a number of treatments non of which worked.


8 November 1982

A senior official at the London Psychiatric Clinic finally confirms for the first time that Lena had anorexia nervosa.

We now know she had been anorexic since she was 13 in 1982 she was 19 so it had only taken 6 years for the truth to come out. Confirming that the press had been right and that Lena's managers and parents had been the ones hiding the truth. If the reason for doing so had been because Lena has a right to a private life that would have been fair. Sadly it's more likely that as one of the main contributers to Lena becoming anorexia her managers would not want to truth to be know. The TV Interviewers that also put questions on her wight and size have to take some of the blame along with her parents who let such questioning of a child, their child to take place.

30 September 1989

Filmstrip made up of screenshots from their Wedding Video

Lena Zavaroni and Peter Wiltshire were married in St Mary's Church, Finchley, Greater London on the 30 September 1989. The Marriage would only last 18 months.

In Later interviews with Lena she would claim that she never loved Peter and only married him so as to feel normal. As far as I am aware What she meant by that was never elaborated on.

3 November 1996

Lena take an overdose of anti-depressants which she had secretly been squirreling away at The Montreux clinic.

She was found asleep the following afternoon by Gay Pankhurst, a care worker.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Lena had to travel to Canada for the Electroconvulsive Therapy.

More details to be added if and when they becomes available.

7 September 1999

On the 7 September 1999 Lena Zavaroni underwent Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder (NMD) (aka Psychosurgery) the type she was treated with was Anterior Capsulotomy which is one of the 4 types of stereotactic psychosurgery available.

The University Hospital of Wales iniff allowed this surgery even though Lena Zavaroni was seriously weakened by her anorexia. In the first days after the operation she appeared to slowly recover and seemed less unhappy; she even asked a doctor if it would be possible to resume her career.

But she would never leave the hospital. Within three weeks, on 1 October 1999 she died from a Pneumonia infection.

She was just 35. At the time of her death she weighed only five stone (70 lb, 32 kg).

Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder (NMD)

Surgeons at the University Hospital of Wales iniff have conducted 56 NMD operations in the past decade. It was there that the former child singing star Lena Zavaroni, who suffered from anorexia, underwent such surgery in 1999 for severe depression. Though the operation seemed to have been a success, she died of Pneumonia less than a month later. According to Brian Simpson, consultant neurosurgeon atiff, the operations his team have conducted have led to a "marked improvement" in roughly half of those being treated for severe depression and OCD. "NMD is not a panacea," Simpson agrees. "It is carefully regulated and only offered to patients for whom all other treatments have failed But in the patients for whom it works well, whose suffering has been indescribable, it transforms their lives."

Extract from Bruised UK

Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder (Modern stereotactic psychosurgery)

Has four types of procedures:

  • anterior cingulotomy
  • subcaudate tractotomy
  • limbic leucotomy (aka lobotomy)
  • anterior capsulotomy

Anterior Capsulotomy

Sorry! I have replaced embed content with link due to music continuously playing in the background.

The Mental Health Act 1983 - England and Wales

Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder is covered by section 57 of the Mental Health Act 1983, which covers all patients, whether voluntary or detained under another section of the Act (sectioned). Under section 57, neurosurgery can be given only if all three of the following requirements are met:

  • You consent to the treatment.
  • second opinion appointed doctor (SOAD) and two other people appointed by the Care Quality Commission in England or the Healthcare Inspectorate of Wales certify that you have the capacity to consent and have done so.
  • The SOAD also certifies that it is appropriate for you to receive the treatment.
  • Your consent must be given free from undue pressure and with sufficient knowledge of the purpose, likelihood of success, risks and alternatives of the treatment.
  • Could it ever be performed without my consent?
    • No. In England and Wales, NMD cannot be performed without your consent, even if you lack the capacity to consent. The Mental Capacity Act may not be used to authorise a treatment which comes under section 57 of the Mental Health Act.
Consent to NMD | Mind, the mental health charity


This section of the Mental Health Act seems flawed How can an individual with severe mental heath problems make an informed chose if they are capable of making such a chose then I would argue that they don't need the surgical procedure.

Lena informing those treating her that she would kill herself if she does not get the NMD is not consect but is as they believed her threat grounds for Lena being Sectioned.


Campaign For Truth

The famous British child star had been struggling with anorexia for 22 years. In September 1999, after years of psychotherapy, anti-depressants and electroshock treatment had failed, she was admitted to the University Hospital of Wales atiff for a lobotomy. In spite of warnings that the discredited operation could destroy her intellect, erase parts of her memory and change her character, Lena and her family persuaded themselves that it was for the best. After all, Britain’s most skilled ‘brain surgeons’ would be presiding. Bob Burrows, a spokesman for the hospital, pointed out to the London Times that the operation was performed using the latest cutting-edge technology: “We are one of the UK’s premier teaching hospitals and at the leading edge of research and medical technology. Miss Zavaroni came toiff because we are one of the few centres in the world that carry out this operation.” Lena died of a chest infection two weeks after the operation. She weighed just 49 lbs.
Extract from Phillip Day's, Campaign For Truth, 24 March 2011 - View the full article via The Wayback Machine


  • There are many different types of bacteria and viruses that can lead to Pneumonia.
  • Good hygiene and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent Pneumonia.
  • Pneumonia can lead to complications, some of which can be fatal, depending on the health and age of the patient. These include:
    • Respiratory failure (when the lungs cannot take in enough oxygen) due to the air sacs filling with fluid.
    • lung abscesses.
    • blood poisoning (septicaemia).

    Sadly we know her lifestyle was less then healthy and people with anorexia nervosa are more likely to get Pneumonia , but Lena Zavaroni was in a hospital that should have had very good hygiene.

    It is stated by the media that Lena die of Pneumonia, but not how the hospital was treating the Pneumonia and how when Lena was in hospital she came to get Pneumonia in the first place.

    The death of Lena Zavaroni shows that the Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder she underwent should not have been preformed as she was not of significant weight or health for her body's immune response to cope with any possible postoperative complications.

    The inquest as far as we can tell did not take that into account.



    Prior to her death Lena was admitted to University Hospital of Wales iniff for a psychosurgical operation that was described as "pioneering" and "keyhole surgery to partially interrupt the nerve pathways that control emotions".

    The operation took place on 7 September 1999. After the operation she contracted Pneumonia and her weight drop to less than five stone (70 lb, 32 kg), just three weeks later she was dead.

    On Lena's death certificate it states she died from Bronchopneumonia on 1 October 1999.

    But the reality of her death is not as straightforward as her death certificate implies. The description of her death as one of natural causes is as far from reality as you could get.

    Reports of Lena Zavaroni’s death, described as one of natural causes, is littered with failures and nebulous explanations about the treatment she received during the years leading up to her death. Many give mere justifications why the treatments did not work and emphasise the “huge problems faced in attempting to treat her illness.”

    Citizens Commission on Human Rights

    Lena Zavaroni's Funeral

    The service took place at The Roman Catholic Church of St Augustine, Presbytery, High Street, Hoddesdon, Herts, EN11 8DS on Friday, 15 October 1999.

    The Roman Catholic Church of St Augustine, Presbytery, High Street, Hoddesdon, Herts EN11 8DS BBC News | Wales | Farewell to star Lena

    Rest in peace (RIP)

    Hoddesdon Cemetery, Lena Zavaroni's Grave
    Hoddesdon Cemetery, Lena Zavaroni's Grave

    Zavaroni Operation Was Not A New Technique

    The hospital where tragic former childhood star Lena Zavaroni died following brain surgery has rejected claims she had undergone pioneering treatment.

    Miss Zavaroni, 35, died on Friday from an infection after experts at the University Hospital of Wales iniff carried out delicate neurosurgery to try to cure her mental illness.

    Caring Online, 4 October 1999

    All we can say is there is a lot of unknowns:

    • How did Lena Zavaroni contract Bronchopneumonia while in a hospital?
    • How was the hospital treating the Bronchopneumonia.
    • Did the coroner ask way the surgical procedure Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder (NMD) was done considering the weight of Lena Zavaroni?
    • Did the coroner ask if the hospital considered what if any were the dangers of post-operative infection and how they planed to deal with such an outcome?
    • Did the coroner request an autopsy?
    • Did the coroner look at her brain and see where the holes and cuts were made for the NMD or did the coroner just look into the effects of the Bronchopneumonia on her lungs?
    • How independent was the coroner from the staff at the hospital?
    • How much focus was given to the long term mental health of Lena Zavaroni and the effects of the abuse she had received throughout her live?
    • Why has there never been a full investigation into the life and death of Lena Zavaroni?


    A judicial inquiry to ascertain the facts relating to an incident, such as a death
    LENA ZAVARONI INQUEST DUE TO END Archive Footage ITN Source, 8 December 1999

    An inquest into the death of former child sensation Lena Zavaroni was told about the final weeks of her life today.

    A surgeon who treated her told how she was planning a return to the stage after an operation to help her combat depression but she weighed only three and a half stone and succumbed to a chest infection soon afterwards.

    ITN Source via The Way-back Machine

    List Of The So Called Natural Causes

    • So It is perfectly natural to believe that a patient with severe depression can make an informed choice.
    • So It is perfectly natural to be thin and extremely under weight.
    • So It is perfectly natural to not find out the root cause of the depression and treat that, but instead just isolate parts of the brain.
    • So It is perfectly natural to have sections of your brain isolated from each other that are normally connected together.
    • So It is perfectly natural to contract Bronchopneumonia within the sterile environment of the hospital.
    • So It is perfectly natural to blame your dead patient for the poor medical decisions you made as her medical practitioner.
    • So It is perfectly natural to use an umbrella term (Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder) instead of naming the precise procedure carried out.

    If as her doctor claimed she had made it clear that she would again try to take her life and he believed she would. Why was she not SECTIONED under the related part of the mental health act of 1983? and that also proves she was not in a state of mine to make an informed choice.

    It should be noted that the Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder she under went would not have been able to be carried out if Lena had been SECTIONED.

    Died from natural causes, I don't think so.