Retired UK Cabaret subscribers make up a very significant percentage of our magazine subscribers. In this new feature, Mark Ritchie takes a look at past careers and meets former show business favourites.
This month’s subject is certainly not retired from show business or indeed performing. It is surely important to remember and wonder at the colourful show business past enjoyed by Mal Ford.
Mal seems to have done the lot, during a career which began on the live band scene, in his native West Midlands. All of which may well have been a more difficult journey for the young Mal than most young man at that time. From the ages of 3 to 13, Mal was a hospital patient, suffering from a debilitating condition.
As a backing band musician, Mal’s next venture involved backing great stars of the 60’s, including Frankie Vaughn, David Whitfield and PJ Proby.
Many seasons were spent as a holiday centre entertainment manager, before Lee Clark of the Studio one agency introduced Mal to life as an agent. Links with the former USSR blossomed and Mal was soon involved in an agency wing in Russia, during which he appeared regularly on Russian television. These days Mal and Jean are actively involved in the careers of many star names and the couple show no sign in slowing down.
Very few entertainers can boast such a journey. Mal, now based in Blackpool, runs the successful agency and management business Personality Artistes. Mal and his wife and business partner Jean are both keen supporters of this publication and for that we are extremely grateful. Mal and Jean were introduced by fellow agent and friend Barrie Lucas and the couple were eventually to wed and enjoy a honeymoon in Las Vegas.
The couple now actively campaign for a well-known charity dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s disease, which Jean has been afflicted by.
The performing bug has never worn off for Mal. Some years ago, while I was performing in cabaret at The Metropole Hotel in Blackpool, Mal came out to see me in action. At that time, Mal told me that he fancied entertaining at the keyboards again. No sooner said than done. Mal was soon entertaining on the golden mile, where can be found every week at The Lyndene Hotel. As Mr Ford always says: ‘There’s no business-like show business’!