Val Doonican, Irish singer and television presenter, Died at 88

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Michael Valentine “Val” Doonican was born on February 3, 1927, and died on July 1, 2015.

He was an Irish singer of traditional pop, easy listening, and novelty songs, who was noted for his warm and relaxed style.

A crooner, Michael found popular success, especially in the United Kingdom where he had five successive Top 10 albums in the 1960s as well as several hits on the UK Singles Chart, including “Walk Tall” and “Elusive Butterfly”.

The Val Doonican Show, which featured his singing and a variety of guests, had a long and successful run on BBC Television from 1965 to 1986 and Doonican won the Variety Club of Great Britain’s BBC-TV Personality of the Year award three times.

Michael had a gentle baritone voice and, according to The Guardian, he had “an easygoing, homely charm that enchanted middle England”.

Michael was born in Waterford, Ireland, the youngest of the eight children of Agnes (née Kavanagh) and John Doonican.

He was from a musical family and played in his school band from the age of six.

In 1941, when he was a teenager, his father died, so he had to leave De La Salle College, Waterford, to get factory jobs fabricating steel and making orange and grapefruit boxes.

Michael began to perform in his hometown, often with his friend Bruce Clarke, and they had their first professional engagement as a duo in 1947.

Michael appeared in a summer season in Courtown Harbour, County Wexford.

He soon featured on Irish radio, sometimes with Clarke, and appeared in Waterford’s first-ever television broadcast.

Then he played the drums in a band on a tour through Ireland.

Michael Doonican passed away at age 88 in July 2015.


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