Lena Was Going to Be a Bride Again

Article excerpt

LENA ZAVARONI was to marry as soon as she recovered from the operation she hoped would give her the normal life she craved.

Close friend Ray Dexter, who had cared for the former child singing star for three years, proposed to her last Wednesday as she lay in a hospital bed.

Anorexic Miss Zavaroni, recovering from a leuchotomy, a rarely performed procedure similar to a lobotomy, said yes.

Yet two days later she died from a chest infection which her frail four-stone body was unable to fight. ‘I held her hand and asked her. She looked at me and smiled and said yes,’ said Mr Dexter, a 49-year-old musician. ‘I was overjoyed and couldn’t wait for her to get better. The last thing she said to me was “I love you Ray, thanks” as I left on Thursday.

‘The next day she got the infection and had great difficulty breathing.

Even then, I was certain that she would be all right. But she was too tired and too weak to fight. If she only had a couple of extra pounds then she may have been strong enough, but she just slipped away from us all.

‘We had talked about marriage before but I never found the courage to ask her. I left it until it was far too late.’ Miss Zavaroni, 35, became a star after winning Opportunity Knocks at the age of ten. In her brief career she met Frank Sinatra, had a Number One hit with Ma, He’s Making Eyes At Me and performed for the Queen at the Royal Variety Show.

In 1989 Lena married Peter Wiltshire but the marriage lasted only 18 months after he admitted he could not cope with caring for a sick woman.

Lena told a close friend: ‘Peter knew I was ill when we got married.

I really loved him and believed I was quite well again. Of course I was depressed after my marriage ended. Who wouldn’t be? I just wanted to be loved.’ It was her unusual childhood, and the pressures on her not to grow up, that led to anorexia. …

Daily Mail (London) Article By Alun Palmer