Backstage at the O'Keefe Center
Petula Clark, the dainty English lass who took the whole world "Downtown" on wings of song is acknowledged to have sold more records as a singing star than any other girl in the world of international entertainment.
Every since her dazzling North American success as a singer, the girl who was a British child star at the age of seven had a secret ambition--to make a motion picture in Hollywood. With 25 British films behind her she was more than equipped for the task.
This dream was realized when Petula stepped before the cameras at Warner Brothers Studio to co-star with Fred Astaire in the movie version of the hit Broadway musical, "Finian's Rainbow". Petula plays "Sharon", the pert daughter of Astaire's "Finian", and she sings the haunting, "How Are Things In Glocca Morra". The picture will be released next year.
Pet, probably the most successful and popular British-born entertainer since The Beatles, has in less than a year appeared on every top-line television variety show and in every major night club in the United States. This year, she also launched an annual month-long tour of colleges to give concerts to the students.
A five-foot tall blonde with blue eyes, Petula is a singer who appeals to all age groups. The kids love her when she belts their kind of songs and the adults sit silent in delight as she sings a popular ballad.
Today, Pet is the most popular international songstress in the world. She now has it all: Grammys for two years in a row. . .winner of the coveted Cash Box award for "Number One Female Vocalist of 1966" . . .every new album and single a million seller--a top guest star on every major television variety show in the United States and Europe. . .the most in-demand female night club entertainer in the U.S., toplining such clubs as the Copacabana in the East and the Cocoanut Grove in the West. . .a standing-room-only draw when performing in-concert at universities, state fairs and other personal appearances from Algeria to L.A. . . a featured stage and motion picture actress . . . a swinging English dynamo, respected and active in all fields with a world seal of approval.
Pet boasted European record sales of over twenty-five million when Warner Brothers first obtained, in 1964, the right to release her hits on this continent. Her U.S. record debut stated with "Downtown" which became an overnight hit and won for her the coveted Grammy award in 1965. The Grammy was unanimously hers again in 1966 as a result of her recording of "I Know a Place". Every recording has climbed to the top of the national music charts, disc purchasers ranging in age from six to sixty. Her record sales in the U.S. alone have now raced past the five million mark.
America's discovery of Pet came second to her European recognition as perhaps their greatest international star. A multi-linguist, she has had in the past few years the Number One hit record (with different songs) in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, England, France and Italy, a success story unequalled in recording history.
Pet was born Petula Sally Clark in Epsom, England, on November 15. The name Petula ultimately was shortened to the nickname Pet, and when still a young girl, the B.B.C. in London presented the blonde, blue-grey eyed little girl with the big voice for the first time to their network audience. Pet soon became a regular on the network singing and reciting poems, making over 500 appearances.
Several years later, she signed a film contract, and starred in twenty-five films with such stars as the late Kay Kendall, Peter Ustinov and Alec Guiness. Her cinema career has always placed second to her recording career which began with her first single recording at the age of seventeen.
With her new recording career, Pet began her wide travels as an artist, first into Holland, then farther into the continent, starring on radio, TV, and making numerous public appearances. European audiences were enthralled with the pert English girl whose voice and songs seemed to speak everyone's language. Following her first English hit, "With All My Heart"*, she had to study French in order to record her hit tunes in French and to effectively perform them in front of a Gallic audience.
After her first major public appearance in France at the Alhambra and a subsequent appearance at the Olympic* Theatre in Paris, English audiences had to share with the French their special affection for this versatile, interntational bundle of talent. Soon her program of songs could be composed entirely of her hit singles. The delighted French people expressed their appreciation for her musical prowess by awarding her the Grand Prix National de Disque Francais.
Aided by her marriage to French public relations executive Claude Wolff, Pet's bi-national reputation became firmly cemented. Claude and Pet immediately merged their careers, he becoming her personal manager. In 1962 Pet and her husband welcomed the birth of her first daughter Barbara Michele and a year later their second daughter Catherine Natalie.
Their world travels, due to Pet's constant schedule of activity, represent the ultimate in international living. Presently the family maintains residences in France, England, Switzerland and the United States. During vacations and occasional free hours, they love to snow ski and browse through antique shops scouting articles for their antique collection. Pet's clothes are casual and mod and her musical tastes a combination of the current and the classical.