Comeback Dreams of a Tragic Singer; Battling Lena Had Hopes of Return

Article excerpt

TRAGIC former child star Lena Zavaroni dreamed of a return to singing and showbiz just weeks before her death.

The 35-year-old singer, who at the age of nine charmed the nation with her vocal talents on Opportunity Knocks in 1974, died on Friday night after pioneering brain surgery which she hoped would cure her debilitating anorexia.

She had battled with the eating disorder since the age of 13 and is believed to have contracted a post-operation infection which she was too weak to shake off.

Before going into, hospital, Ms Zavaroni, who is said to have weighed just three and a half stone when she died, spoke about her hopes.

'’I’d love to think about singing again and I love to talk about the possibility of going back into showbiz.

'’I love performing for people and making them happy. I’d really like to do that again. I hope one day, if everything goes fine with the operation, I will be able to.’’

She added: ‘‘I did manage to go back on stage with my dad about five years ago.

'’It was only in some pubs in north London but I remembered all the words to my old songs and people cheered me like they used to.’’

Miss Zavaroni, who died surrounded by family members at University of Wales hospital in Cardiff, shot to fame after appearing in Opportunity Knocks, where she had an unprecedented five-week run and went on to carve out a singing career.

Her early achievements included the chart- topping Ma, He’s Making Eyes At Me.

She went on to perform for the Queen at a Royal Variety performance when she was just 12 and appeared in concerts with Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli.

But the singer from Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute, was plagued by anorexia from childhood, and had been known to let her weight plummet to less than four stone.

Her last home was a seventh-floor flat in Hoddesdon, Herts.

A spokeswoman for the hospital confirmed that Miss Zavaroni had been a patient there for ‘‘a number of weeks’’. …

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)