Black (born Priscilla Maria Veronica White on 27 May 1943) broke through in the 1960s as a buck-toothed pop singer in the Merseybeat boom, and went on to become one of the enduring stars of UK tv light entertainment (her name change was the result of the local Mersey Beat newspaper mistakenly calling her by the wrong colour!).
Championed by The Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein, she began her singing career in 1963, and her first hits Anyone Who Had a Heart (1964) and You're My World (1964) both reached No.1. Black had eleven Top 10 hits on the UK charts between 1964-1971.
Along with a successful recording career running until the early 1970s, Black hosted her own tv variety show Cilla, between 1968-1976. After a brief time as a comedy actress in the mid-1970s, she became a prominent tv presenter in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2013, Black celebrated 50 years in show business.
Cilla Black was named ITV Personality of the Year in 1987 and Variety Club Showbusiness Personality of 1991. She won a Bafta in 1995, and was appointed OBE in 1997.
She made a career out of what one critic described as 'the phenomenon of ordinariness.' Unashamedly working-class, she would laugh: "I was a bit of fun and a bit of Scouse rough and everybody liked me, I was normal. I could have been the kid next door. And then I turned into the auntie next door. And now I'm the granny next door!"
Cilla Black married her long-time boyfriend and manager, Bobby Willis, in 1969. He died in 1999, and she is survived by their three sons. Cilla was 72.
NZ recently enjoyed the TV mini-drama Cilla, which starred Sheridan Smith in the title role - the real Cilla loved it!