Dorothy Squires - Emily Remembers...

Emily Squires, Dorothy’s niece, recalls life with her late aunt.

As the niece of Dorothy Squires, Emily Squires – the daughter of Dorothy’s brother William ‘Fred’ Squires and popular Fifties variety entertainer Joyce Golding –was very close to her aunt for much of her life.  Emily, who now lives with her mother in Brighton, stayed at Dorothy’s home on many occasions (including during her marriage to Roger Moore), and was with her at the very end. Emily was witness to many of the triumphs in Dorothy’s life – and also to the tragedies and misfortunes that befell her. Here she recalls some of the memories of life with a volatile but loving aunt.

Emily was about nine or ten years old when she first saw her famous auntie working onstage.  “It was at Brighton Hippodrome and I particularly remember Dorothy singing Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust, a song that she was often to feature in her live performances,” she remembers.  “I thought that she was absolutely magic when she sang it.  However, when I went round to her dressing room after the show I was so excited that I started whistling the melody and Dorothy threw me out! 

“I hadn’t realised that people in show business believe it to be unlucky if somebody whistles in a dressing room.  Anyway, Dorothy told me to leave the room, turn around three times, knock on the door and then swear!  I didn’t know how to swear, because it was something that my parents wouldn’t allow, so I said ‘What do I say?’  Just say ‘bollocks’ Dorothy yelled back!  That was my first lesson in swear words …”

Throughout the next four decades Emily saw many of Dorothy’s stage performances and, indeed, at one time even shared the stage with her aunt, having her own singing spot on several of Dorothy’s shows in the Seventies.  “She always did her own lighting plots and, after the break-up with Billy Reid, she definitely learned her trade.  She knew exactly what she was doing.  Dorothy was always very friendly to those who worked at the theatres but woe betide anyone if they didn’t do their job properly.”

Emily adds: “Dorothy worked with a lot of up-and-coming artists when she was at the top-of-the-bill – names like Morecambe & Wise, Bruce Forsyth, and Peter Sellars.  When the manager of a provincial theatre sacked Peter Sellars from the show, because of the poor audience reaction, Dorothy had him re-instated and then went through Peter’s stage act line-by-line with him so that he would get a better reaction from the audiences.  Peter Sellars was virtually unknown then, of course.”

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