British Actress Pat Kirkwood has passed away at the age of 86 on 25th December, 2007. The renowned film personality was acknowledged to be the last person alive from the golden era of musical stars of Britain, prior to the world war. Michael Thornton, author, biographer and a close family friend disclosed that she died at the Kitwood House nursing home in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
In her long career of more than 60 years, she had acted as the leading lady in many musicals written by Noel Coward, Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein. During that time, critic Kenneth Tynan had appreciated her infamous legs by expressing them as the eighth wonder of the world.
The accomplished actress also achieved the feat of being the first female celebrity to host her own show on British television in 1954. The television series was named The Pat Kirkwood Show and was for 1 hour duration.
In July, 1954, she made her debut in Las Vegas cabaret in her own show London Palladium Varieties at the Desert Inn. During its 3 months time period, this show became so popular among people that it broke all earlier box-office records. She then later performed in a renewed version of Pal Joey at the Edinburgh Festival of 1976, and her fabulous act was recognized by critical acclaim.
She was linked to the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip, by the media and royal biographers. She was introduced to him in her London Hippodrome dressing room way back in October, 1948. Since then and even after she retired from her acting career, her friendship with the Duke always continued to attract the paparazzi.
They were once spotted dining at the Les Ambassadeurs restaurant in Mayfair and subsequently were noticed dancing together for a considerable time span at the Milroy nightclub. White’s Club was the source of rumours that Philip had gifted Kirkwood a white Rolls-Royce.
The musical star persistently declined to confirm her relationship with the Duke and denied having any affair with him. However, it is assumed that her worldwide media speculations on the alleged affair deprived her opportunity of being formally recognized in the royal family’s Honours list.