Eurovision

#OBITUARY: Doyen of Eurovision Katie Boyle has died

Katie Boyle

#OBITUARY: Doyen of Eurovision Katie Boyle has died

News has reached us that one of the greatest presenters in Eurovision, Katie Boyle, has died aged 91. She had been ill for some time.

Katie’s association with Eurovision goes back to 1960, when she was known as Catherine. The venue was London’s Royal Festival Hall and she ably held together a contest of 13 songs, won by Jacqueline Boyer with ‘Tom Pillibi’.

In 1963 she was back, hosting one of the oddest contests, where it was rumoured that all the performances were pre-recorded. Katie was in one studio at the BBC’s brand new TV studios in London, with the orchestra and and audience, and the performers were in another studio next door. The controversy continued when Norway called in their votes twice, and gave their points to different songs. Denmark eventually won.

In 1968 we saw her at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where there were high hopes for a home win by Cliff Richard. He finished second to Massiel.

Finally, Katie hosted one of the more famous contest, held at The Dome in Brighton. Her salmon pink was that sheer that she hosted the whole show commando. Shock! And he was shedding ostrich feathers during the broadcast. It was won, of course, by the popular beat combo from Sweden called ABBA. At four contests, she is a clear leader in the race for hosting the most, and it’s a record that’s unlikely to be beaten.

Her association with the contest continued when she was guest of honour at UK Eurovision conventions in 1988 and 1992. And we also saw in 1998 in Birmingham being accosted by Guildo Horn. Naturally she was the guest of honour there too.

She was born in Florence in 1926 as Caterina Irene Elena Maria Imperiali di Francavilla, the daughter of an Italian marquis and his English wife. She moved to the UK in 1946 and soon married the 9th Earl of Shannon, Richard Bentinck Boyle. She divorced him in 1955 but kept his surname. She had two more husbands, the last of whom died in 2003.

Outside of Eurovision, she was a regular guest on TV and radio panel shows, as well as hosting her own TV shows. Her main passion was her dogs, and hosted programmes associated with them. She was also an agony aunt for a TV magazine in the 1970s.

Eurovision Ireland’s thoughts are with Katie’s family.

Do you have memories of Katie? Were you there at Eurovision Conventions in 1988 and 1992 when she was the guest of honour? Did you meet her in Birmingham in 1998?

 

Author: John Stanton

Source: Eurovision Ireland

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