A FORMER tinseltown journalist from Gloucester who once rubbed shoulders with some of Hollywood’s biggest names has paid tribute to one half of the Everly Brothers, Phil who has died.
Roger Asquith, who interviewed stars such as Elvis and Marilyn Monroe during the 1960s, met the pair as they were on the cusp of reaching worldwide fame
He said: “I was fortunate to meet the Everly Bros in a recording studio in Hollywood during an interview for NBC Television. The British fan magazines were eager for news and pictures of Don and Phil and I was very pleased to write about them.
“Their latest hit recording, Wake Up, Little Susie was playing everywhere across the country and they were in great spirits looking forward to a tour of Europe. In London they would be starring in the most popular television show in the UK Sunday night at the Palladium.
“Relaxing later in the Green Room , I warmed in the glow of Don and Phil’s soft Southern accent which came from their early years performing in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Phil admitted they were both nervous about their upcoming tour of Europe and asked me a lot of questions about London, they had been told it was always raining.
“ I assured them that the sun soon came out and thousands of fans would be there to welcome them.
“Don was particularly interested in English history and was looking forward to visiting some of the famous tourist venues, such as Westminster Abbey and Hampton Court, one of the homes of Henry the Eighth.
“I reminded him that it was Henry the Eighth who ransacked dozens of English Abbeys and monasteries because the Pope would not allow him to divorce the first of his six wives. Don was then even more keen to check out the old tyrant.”
The Beatles once referred to themselves as ‘the English Everly Brothers’ and Bob Dylan said the pair were responsible for kicking off a new musical era.
They were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll hall of Fame in 1983.
Roger also remembers his time with recently honoured actress Angela Lansbury, who was made a Dame in the New Year.
He interviewed her at her beach-side Malibu home during filming for Disney film, Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Roger said: “Miss Lansbury brought me tea and a slice of cake and talked and laughed about various films and her first visit to America.
“She was an evacuee with the Pied Piper scheme when she and many others, including Elizabeth Taylor and Roddy McDowall were sent to America in 1939 to escape the German invading armies.
“Because of their distinct British accents they were soon signed up by MGM. Elizabeth and Angela both richly deserve the honour bestowed up them by Queen Elizabeth, not only for the acting achievements but their unstinting generosity to their friends and various charities they endowed.”
Roger, also known as Roy Pockett, was a renowned writer in Palm Springs and almost had one of his novels, Cuban Trader, turned into a film.