We look at the life and career of Tufty Gordon here, in obituary form, through the admiring eyes of UK Cabaret managing editor Mark Ritchie.
An accomplished musician, specialising in Saxophones, Oboe and Piccolo, Thomas Gordon Tuft (aka Tufty Gordon) died on October 13 2016, aged 76. However Tufty was much more than a musician, as his CV fully illustrated.
Born in Sheffield in 1940, Tufty broke into show business as a musician in a dance band. Then known as Tommy Tuft, it rapidly became clear to one and all that here was an individual with something special, in terms of talent and charisma. Instead of listing Tufty’s life in chronological order, I thought I would break with tradition in obituary form, by highlighting some of Tufty’s many successes.
The Aquarius night spot in his native Chesterfield was massively successful, while he was resident Compere. He later enjoyed a similar spell at another Midlands cabaret venue. This is where I first met Tufty back in the early 80’s, when I appeared in cabaret there.
When we met again, it was during the days of the Showcall Showcase, which The Stage used to run in Stratford On Avon. In and around the iconic ‘Showcall’ venue, Tufty met so many new friends. He was Compere of the event, back in the days when The Stage used to cover light entertainment, in my view, a little more thoroughly. Of course, The Stage was selling advertisements in its once coveted Showcall directory book. Once this massive publication started to thin out, the showcase was axed and a major chapter of UK show business history was lost.
Tufty also worked for a major company on the Lincolnshire coast and was present during the launch of the splendid Club Tropicana, which still continues to thrive today. Tufty also helped developed other neighbouring venues, owned by the same parent company.
Tufty’s life was filled with travel, as he become a headline attraction on board many international cruise liners. His globe-trotting career afforded Tufty the chance to meet even more friends and admirers. His show business story of success continued for almost half a century.
Tufty was loved and admired by everyone within the entertainment industry. He died last month as a result of a combination of lung cancer and a heart problem. He drove from his home in Skegness home just before his death, in order to be nearer to family members in Chesterfield.
Tufty Gordon leaves a wife Sylvia and two children Thomas Jnr and Laurie. His first marriage to Janet produced a son, Nick. He was 76 years old and I personally believe we may never see his like again.