Paul Nicholas’ life – Chart hits, Just Good Friends and tragic death of ex-wife

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Just Good Friends actor Paul Nicholas has had a very busy life and recently returned to the spotlight with a very new look.

He appeared on This Morning sporting a goatee and a bald head – a major change from his previous television fame.

Viewers were surprised by the popular performer's change in appearance since starring as Vince in eighties sitcom Just Good Friends, with one fan saying on social media: "Blimey, I didn't recognise Paul Nicholas."

It wasn't just his new look that got people talking though, as Paul is coming out with a rap song and CD.

He told hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O' Leary: "Rather than come out with an old song, I’ve thought I’d look for something new to do to promote the CD."

Alison asked: “Did you like rapping? Did you enjoy it?" to which Paul replied: “I did. A friend of mine wrote the song and I thought I’m looking for something new to do, and I thought it was quite funny.

"I had great fun doing it," he said.

Lots of fans took to social media following his appearance to share their love for Paul Nicholas, with one viewer saying: "I used to fancy Paul Nicholas in Just Good Friends," with another saying: "Isn't it time Gold show the classic Just Good Friends again? Or BBC 4?"

Aside from his new music, Paul has released a new book, Music, Marigolds and Me, celebrating 50 years in show-business which has seen him work with everyone from David Essex to Andrew Lloyd Webber and the cast of EastEnders.

It was clear from the social media reaction that Paul Nicholas' work is still loved by generations of fans, beginning with his first musical performances as a teenager, when he started playing in a band called Paul Dean and the Dreamers at age 17, before joining Screaming Lord Sutch's band.

Paul also had a string of Top 10 records, including the catchy pop number Dancing with the Captain in 1976, and has released albums throughout the decades including Colours of My Life.

With his incredible voice, he showcased his talents onscreen too in films including Tommy and alongside David Essex in the 1974 film Stardust.

Paul played Johnny, who is part of band The Stray Cats as their lead singer.

However, he is ultimately moved aside when David Essex's character Jim MacLaine has his song played on the radio from their record instead of Johnny, and begins to lead the band instead.

The popular actor and musician is beloved by generations of fans, whether that is on screen or on stage in theatre productions including Godspell, Hair and Andrew Lloyd Webber's productions Jesus Christ Superstar and Cats.

During his time working on theatre production Hair he met his wife Linzi Jennings, who he has been with for 50 years and married in 1984.

He was previously married to Susan Beuselinck from 1966 to 1970, with whom he had two children, Natasha and Oscar.

However in 1977, he suffered a personal tragedy when Susan was killed in a car crash, saying to The Daily Express: "It was a devastating thing to have happened.

“I’d never lost anyone that close to me before. It affected me deeply.”

He added that Linzi helped him and the children cope with the loss of Susan, saying: "The children knew her well by then and she was fantastic in helping me through that difficult chapter.”

Together, Paul and Linzi have 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In the 1980s, Paul starred in what is undoubtedly one of his most famous roles, in the television sitcom Just Good Friends, written by Only Fools and Horses' John Sullivan.

The show made Paul Nicholas an 80s heartthrob as Vince Pinner, the man who stood up Jan Francis' Penny Warrender at the altar, only for them to accidentally meet again five years later.

Viewers were hooked onto the show, with millions tuning in every week to see if the two would still remain just good friends.

Paul even sang the theme tune for the show, telling The Daily Express in 2019 that he had received a script from a fan of Just Good Friends, about Vince and Penny as they are in their seventies, saying that he would "love to do it," and see it made.

After Just Good Friends, Paul continued to star in sitcoms including Close to Home as vet James Shepherd, and from 2015 to 2016, appeared as Kathy Sullivan's husband Gavin in the BBC soap EastEnders.

In 2019, he also took part in television programme The Real Exotic Marigold Hotel alongside celebrities including The Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson and darts player Bobby George.

With the release of his new book, fans can enjoy looking back on the career of one of Britain's most beloved entertainers and actors, ahead of the release of his new music collection.

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