Cliff Richard tears up remembering his father's death on Life Stories: 'He missed my career'

26 October 2020, 12:11

Cliff Richard tears up over father's death

By Tom Eames

Sir Cliff Richard appeared on Piers Morgan Life Stories this weekend, and opened up about losing his father when he was aged just 20.

Looking back over his eight decades in music, the 'Devil Woman' singer became emotional as he looked back at particular moments that he wished his father had seen.

Sir Cliff was just 20 when his dad Rodger Webb died in 1961 aged 56 from complications with thrombosis.

This was only a couple of years into his career, and Rodger never got to witness just how huge his son's career would become.

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"20 years old is a tough age to lose your father," Piers said to Cliff, before asking whether he had been able to say everything he wanted to his dad.

"It wasn’t easy for any of us really, but he was a naughty person really, he did smoke a lot," the 80-year-old singer said. "But, no I didn’t."

Cliff Richard and his father Rodger (right) in 1959
Cliff Richard and his father Rodger (right) in 1959. Picture: Getty

His voice cracking, Cliff continued: "That’s why I feel some times that my anger if I’ve got any, comes out when I think he missed the best things in my life.

"He never saw the knighthood. Everything that dad – he was the one that was right behind me and when he became part of the management group he’s the one that kept me on the tracks and continued to remind me, 'this is what you’re going to do'. So for me, it was a horrible, horrible loss."

Who were Cliff Richard's parents?

Cliff's mother Dorothy died in October 2007, aged 87, after a decade with Alzheimer's disease.

The singer was born Harry Rodger Webb in British India at King George's Hospital in Lucknow, which was then part of British India.

Rodger Webb was a manager for a catering contractor that serviced the Indian Railways. His mother's maiden name was Marie Dazely.

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The Webb family lived in Maqbara, near the main shopping centre of Hazratganj. Cliff also has three sisters: Joan, Jacqui and Donna. Donna passed away in 2016.

In 1948, following Indian independence, the family went on a three-week sea trip to Tilbury, Essex aboard the SS Ranchi. They lived in a company-supplied flat at Howrah near Calcutta.

Aged 16, Cliff's father bought him a guitar, and in 1957, he formed the school vocal group The Quintones. Two years later, he had teamed up with The Shadows and scored a massive hit with 'Move It'.