This King of cabaret Compere/ Comedians died in hospital in Liverpool last month and his untimely death has produced a stream of tributes and reminiscences from many show business luminaries in the North West of England.
Jack Diamond was born in the Manchester area in 1941 and his family took a holiday at Butlins in Filey in 1957. Young Jack won the weekly talent competition and was awarded £10 and a free holiday. Returning home to his home in Ardwick, a working class district in Manchester, the young man found himself the subject of interest from a leading agent in the North-West scene, who provided the opportunity for Jack to put his act together whilst touring the then huge and sprawling Greater Manchester club circuit. By the early 1960’s Jack Diamond was already was well-known name in the North-West.
By 1971 Jack Diamond was ready to headline his own show. The venue was The giant Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool. The show as a success and Jack had become a huge name in Blackpool. His first album, Jack Diamond -Live at the Norbreck Castle, also featured The Colin Prince Trio.
During the mid to late 1970’s Jack tried opening his own cabaret club in Manchester. He also opened The Ace of Clubs, which was situated in Topping Street Blackpool. His business adventures proved rather less lucrative than his stage work and it seemed to friends and other observers that Jack was much better suited as a comedy host.
In 1972 Jack became engaged to actress Julie Goodyear, who would later find fame playing the part of brassy barmaid Bet Lynch in Coronation Street. But, although the romance fizzled out, the couple remained very good friends.
Always regarded as a generous entertainer, he hosted his successful talent show Diamond’s Discoveries as various venues in Blackpool. The show ran annually for a quarter of a century.
Jack Diamond was perhaps best known to many as the resident host and compere at The Talk of the Coast club, which is still busy and thriving as a cabaret venue today. The long-established host these days being popular comedian Buddy Lee. According to his many fans, Jack Diamond would hold court nightly in a style that was very much his own. Jack finally left his job at The Talk of the Coast in 1988 and his successor was fellow comedian George King, who was acknowledged by most in Blackpool as doing a wonderful job in following the guv’nor himself in this exacting cabaret role. George King has said many times since how much he learned about his craft by watching Jack Diamond.
Stars such as Bobby Ball, Leye D Johns and many others have been quick to praise the sheer comic talent of Jack Diamond.
For a generation of comedy entertainers, Jack Diamond was the man to watch. Although never a household name, Jack Diamond was acknowledged within the business as The Entertainers Entertainer.