Dame Shirley Bassey facts: Singer's age, family, children, net worth and more revealed

1 October 2021, 17:21

Dame Shirley Bassey performing at the BBC Electric Proms in 2009. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Dame Shirley Bassey performing at the BBC Electric Proms in 2009. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

Dame Shirley Bassey has remained one of Britain's most popular voices throughout the past seven decades, and is nothing short of a legend.

Here's all you need to know about the iconic Welsh singer:

Who is Dame Shirley Bassey?

Dame Shirley Bassey is one of the most successful female singers in British music history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Dame Shirley Bassey is one of the most successful female singers in British music history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Dame Shirley Bassey is a legend of British popular music, and is world renowned for her powerful, expressive voice in songs like 'Big Spender'.

She's most recognisably lent her voice to several James Bond films throughout the years, providing the iconic soundtracks to Goldfinger in 1964, Diamonds Are Forever in 1967, and Moonraker in 1979.

Bassey has sold over 130 millions records worldwide since her career began, and was the first Welsh artist ever to achieve a UK number one single with 'As I Love You' in 1959.

Read more: Forgotten duets: When Neil Diamond sang with Shirley Bassey

After the release of her final album in 2020, I Owe It To You All, she became the first female artist to have a charting album in seven consecutive decades.

Her extensive achievements and awards include winning Best British Female Solo Artist at the 1977 BRIT Awards, being bestowed the title of Most Successful British Female Singer in 2000's Guinness World Records (a record she still holds), and most notably her appointment to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) which came that same year in the annual honours list.

How old is Shirley Bassey and where was she born?

Shirley Bassey at the age of 16, September 1953. By then she was already a seasoned singer. (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Shirley Bassey at the age of 16, September 1953. By then she was already a seasoned singer. (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Shirley Bassey was born on January 8, 1937, in Tiger Bay, Cardiff. She celebrated her 84th birthday in 2021

Her father Henry Bassey was from Nigeria, and her mother Eliza Jane Start came from Teeside. She grew up in a household of three sisters, two half-sisters, and one brother.

How did Shirley Bassey get her start in music?

Shirley Bassey performing in 1965. (Photo by Monitor Picture Library/Photoshot/Getty Images)
Shirley Bassey performing in 1965. (Photo by Monitor Picture Library/Photoshot/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Bassey left school at the age of 14 to sing in local pubs and clubs, given her mature voice and unique talent.

She then moved on to the West End, where she was later spotted by record producer Johnny Franz who offered her a recording contract.

Read more: Shirley Bassey reacts to 1960s singer's claims that she died

Bassey's first single 'Burn My Candle' was unfortunately banned by the BBC due to the suggestive lyrics, but future singles 'The Banana Boat Song' and 'As I Love You' became hits, with the latter topping the charts in 1959.

It made Shirley Bassey the first Welsh singer to achieve the feat, and from then onwards stardom beckoned.

What are Shirley Bassey’s biggest songs?

- 'Goldfinger'

- 'Diamonds Are Forever'

- 'Big Spender'

- 'Moonraker'

- 'Light My Fire'

- 'As I Love You'

- 'Something'

- 'History Repeating'

- 'Never, Never, Never'

- 'Get The Party Started'

- 'Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me'

- 'As Long As He Needs Me'

- 'What Now My Love?'

Is Shirley Bassey married?

Shirley Bassey with Kenneth Hume in 1961. (Photo by Bulmer/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Shirley Bassey with Kenneth Hume in 1961. (Photo by Bulmer/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Picture: Getty
Shirley Bassey with Sergio Novak in 1970. (Photo by Terry Disney/Daily Express/Getty Images)
Shirley Bassey with Sergio Novak in 1970. (Photo by Terry Disney/Daily Express/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Shirley Bassey has been married twice in her life.

Her first marriage was to Kenneth Hume from 1961 to 1965, and her second was to Italian Sergio Novak, the assistant manager of the Excelsior Hotel in Venice, who later became her manager. They were married from 1968 to 1979.

She lamented her failure to find true love in her life, saying “I’ve found happiness in my work but not in my private life” in 2016 ahead of her 80th birthday.

Does Shirley Bassey have any children and grandchildren?

Shirley Bassey holding her daughter Samantha at 10-weeks old. (Photo by Daily Express/Archive Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Shirley Bassey holding her daughter Samantha at 10-weeks old. (Photo by Daily Express/Archive Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Shirley Bassey has two daughters, Sharon and Samantha who were born in 1954 and 1963 respectively.

The father of Samantha has been disputed by her first husband Hume due to Bassey's affair with actor Peter Finch whilst they were married.

Her daughter Samantha sadly died in 1985, with Bassey continuing to believe it was an act of foul play that resulted in her death.

From her surviving daughter Sharon, Bassey has four grandsons and a great-granddaughter.

How much is Shirley Bassey worth?

Shirley Bassey’s estimated net worth is $10 million.

Is there anything else we should know about Shirley Bassey?

Shirley Bassey has been given the freedom of her home city, Cardiff, but now resides in Monaco.

She played the fabled legend’s slot at Glastonbury Festival in 2007 where she drew the biggest crowd of the weekend, with critics calling it a "once in a lifetime" performance.

Kanye West sampled 'Diamonds Are Forever' for his 2005 song 'Diamonds from Sierra Leone' which reached No.8 in the UK singles chart.

Throughout the late 1960s, Bassey was seen on several occasions partying with East London gangster Reggie Kray.