Bill Kenwrights life from Coronation Street actor to Everton supremo

Frank Lampard on Bill Kenwright’s message to Everton players

Actor turned producer and Everton Football Club chairman Bill Kenwright has died aged 78.

The Liverpool-born star was once a famous face on screens starring as Gordon Clegg in the ITV soap Coronation Street.

He first stepped onto the Cobbles back in April 1968 and stayed on the soap as a regular for a year.

Bill left the show to focus on his producing career, but continued to act occasionally throughout the 1970s and again in 2012.

The actor’s final appearance in Weatherfield was when he announced the sad news that his much-loved mum Betty Williams (played by Betty Driver) had died.

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In real life, the actress, who played her character of the same name for 42 years, died in October 2011 following ill health.

On whether he thought his on-screen mum’s send-off was a fitting tribute to Betty, he told Digital Spy at the time: “Do you know what, shall I tell you something, it will be impossible to give her a fitting tribute, because Betty Driver does not do death.

“She isn’t dead to me – she transcends all that. But the producers have chosen a way of covering her passing on screen that doesn’t include a big funeral.

“The scenes do include some really loving moments at The Rovers, where people reminisce and remember her life. I think that’s what she would have wanted.

“I think Betty Driver would be smiling down up there now.”

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Bill has also made brief appearances in other shows such as The Villains and The Liver Birds and films Carry On Matron and England, My England.

As a theatre producer, he was behind the West End hit Blood Brothers and UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

His credits also include runs of Whistle Down the Wind, The Big Life, Elmina’s Kitchen, Scrooge – The Musical, The Night of the Iguana, A Few Good Men and A Man For All Seasons.

Additionally, Bill produced the 2006 revival of Cabaret in London which starred Anna Maxwell Martin, James Dreyfus and Sheila Hancock.

In the following year, Bill became a judge on BBC One series Any Dream Will Do.

Months later, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Theatrical Management Association.

More recently in 2018 and 2019, he directed and produced the UK touring production of Saturday Night Fever and the Evita world tour.

Since 2004, he has been the chairman of Everton Football Club after staging a successful takeover five years prior.

In his personal life, he was in a long-term relationship with actress Jenny Seagrove.

He was married to actress Anouska Hempel from 1978 to 1980.

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