For today’s blog a wonderful article from an Italian newspaper from 1971. With very special thanks to Peter for the translation.
This is the last post for now as I will go on holiday for a week.
QUEEN OF MONTE CARLO
Shirley holds the hand of here nephew Mark. Behind, in the center, is Sharon, her eldest daughter, her husband Sergio Novak and, on the right Samantha. Bassey triumphed on Saturday, 6 August at the Red Cross Gala in Monte Carlo, singing seven songs. The most applauded were the title tracks from the films ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Love Story. Shirley married Sergio Novak, from Trieste, on the 12th. of August 1968. She had met him some years ago in Venice when he was deputy manager of a hotel on the Lido. At the end of August Shirley will return with her family to their home in Lugano.
Shirley Bassey celebrates her third anniversary in Sardinia with her
beautiful Italian giant.
My darling MAXI-robot
‘Nobody believed that my marriage to Sergio would last more than a month’, says Shirley Bassey, ‘but here we are, more united than ever.’ ‘I was restless, irascible: in him I found a secure man, capable of guiding me in difficult moments.’ ‘As a manager, my husband is exceptional: precise and methodical like a perfect robot.’ ‘My two daughters will soon have a little brother: I intend to soon adopt my nephew, Marco, aged 5, who has lived with us for some time.’
Playing at Sporting: The singer Shirley Bassey, playing at Sporting, jokes with her family: daughter Sharon (17), who holds in her arms Mark (5), the nephew that Shirley intends to adopt, then husband Sergio Novak (a tall giant of a meter and 95) and at the end the younger daughter, Samantha (7). ‘We are the happiest and rowdiest group in Porto Rotondo’, says the singer, ‘and my husband is really the wildest’. Shirley Bassey is the daughter of an English mother and Nigerian father. She had her daughter, Sharon, before she was married and Samantha with her first husband, the English director Kenneth Hume.
‘On the 12th of August, I celebrated my third year of marriage’, Shirley Bassey says in a low voice, caressing with velvety eyes, her husband Sergio Novak, who is Italian 1,95 tall with a mustache that makes him resemble a young Pietro Germin. The Anglo-Nigerian singer continues, ‘This anniversary is particularly important for me. These three years of love have demonstrated that I made the right choice. I remember very well the comments of the usual critics in 1968: ‘It won’t last more than a month with that beanpole Italian; or ‘Restless as she is, she will change her man like she has until now without thinking about it for a moment’. Well, it is true, I was a restless sort who had had many ‘adventures’. But it really has been the closeness to Sergio that has transformed me: I was agitated, irascible, obsessed with many fears, terrified just to appear in public again. A life without hope, terrible. Sergio, a secure man, has slowly but with firmness, at time almost with harshness, has guided me into a port of tranquility.
‘My husband,’ continues Shirley, ‘is the ultimate husband-manager, from the effective point of view he is very sweet, respectful, full of attention and unbeatable at his job. Precise, methodical, continually noting, there is no danger that I will lose on any occasion because, professionally, I am successful and satisfied. I call him ‘my maxi-robot’, a giant robot without which I would be finished, without escape.’
When did you meet each other, I ask Shirley, interrupting her hymn of love.
‘Ten years ago,’ she responds. ‘I was in Venice with my husband Kenneth Hume. We were on holiday in Italy to try to save our marriage that had, in reality, irredeemably broken down. We were just not aware of it. At the Hotel Excelsior, on the Lido, I met Sergio, deputy manager of the hotel, but it was a superficial meeting. I saw him again in 1967 in Milan. He courted me tenaciously, ruthlessly and it took a year before I was convinced that I had found the right man. We married in Las Vegas. Close to him I felt so small, but so protected. I remember every moment of that day like it was yesterday: the most normal things that for me had the greatest significance.’ With a long sigh, almost silence, after this unusually long monologue for her. Sergio Novak, the number one reason for the happiness of Shirley Bassey, seems to believe in his role. He is an elegant man and full of spirit, a perfect husband and a perfect baby-sitter: he plays with and amuses the children. At Porto Rotondo, where Sergio Novak and his wife are on holiday, there are also Sharon,a beautiful 17 year-old girl with dark skin (she is the daughter that Shirley Bassey had when was young, some years before she was married); Samantha (7 years old), born during the marriage with Kenneth Home (who died in 1967 from a drugs overdose); and lastly the little Mark, five years old, Bassey’s nephew. ‘He has lived with me for three years,’ she says, ‘and I intend to adopt him. Sergio agrees.’
The Novak-Bassey group is undoubtedly lively. Sharon, the eldest, at times appears to want a little peace and then returns to the mix to joke, laugh and play with Samantha and with the little Mark and, naturally, her parents. The holiday goes on in the warm sun of Sardinia. Here Shirley and her family live in a villa on the sea about 500 meters from the center of Porto Rotondo: seven rooms and a large terrace. Furnished rustically, white walls, and terracotta flooring.
Every so often Shirley leaves her daughters and Mark to go singing (like her success last week at the Red Cross Gala in Monte Carlo). On 20-21 August she is in Palma di Majorca and from 23-27 in Berlin for some television appearances. At the end of the month when the holiday in Sardinia finishes, what will they do? It is the husband-robot who responds, relying on a notebook. ‘In September, ‘ he says, ‘we will return to our home in Lugano, where we have lived for three years.’
Mark will go to school, Samantha will do the third year of elementary, while Sharon who has completed senior school, will do a finishing school course in Neuchatel. As for my wife, in September, she will be in London for some television appearances and for recording a new album. At the end of the month she will participate at the Rio song festival as a guest of honour and a member of the jury.
She will then be in New York for three weeks and in November again in England for more television appearances. She has also just recorded an important record for the soundtrack of James Bond film ‘Diamonds are forever’.
‘A last question, Mr Novak, maybe a little impertinent, how do you react when you hear yourself called ‘Mr Bassey’?
‘I have no reaction’, he replies, smiling, ‘I do a job for which Shirley should employ two people. So I think that my wife has benefited a lot, perhaps even too much, from my work.’