HER infectious laugh and sense of fun remained strong even when her body was succumbing to old age.
Family and friends have offered insights into the life of Cilla Black in a documentary airing on ITV on Christmas Day.
Speaking on Our Cilla, Black’s son Robert Willis revealed the entertainer spent her last hours alive sipping champagne and laughing at the television - ignoring the signs of ill health.
“Her hearing had started to go so she had to start wearing hearing aids. Typical of my mum, she wouldn’t wear them. The thing that really affected her physically was her arthritis,” he said.
Willis, who was also her manager, talked about the last day he spent with his mother at her home in Spain.
“She was sitting around having a glass of champagne, killing herself laughing at Jeremy Kyle - without the hearing aids obviously - so blaring out across Marbella. We hung out and at about 1 o’clock, I said I was going to do a shop. I said goodbye and that was the last time I saw her.”
Black died of a stroke on August 1 after falling and hitting her head at her Spanish villa. The 72-year-old was sunbathing when she lost her balance, fell, and hit her head. Alongside rare interview and archive footage, there are candid and surprising insights. Comedian and friend Paul O’Grady shared an anecdote about her hair.
“The colour she used to use was called ‘Ginger Twist’. She called me up in a blind panic - they’d discontinued Ginger Twist!
“Everywhere in the world I went I’d go in and ask for it. They’d look at me with my white hair and I’d say, ‘No, it’s not for me, it’s for me friend’.’”