Inside Bill Kenwright’s Coronation Street career and life away from Everton

Bill Kenwright, who died on Monday at the age of 78, is a familiar face to Coronation Street viewers – having appeared on the show for almost 30 years.

Everton announced the death of chairman Kenwright following a prolonged stay in intensive care after he had a liver tumour removed earlier this year. And tributes soon poured in from the footballing and performing world, where Kenwright had made his name.

The Liverpudlian had been at the reigns of Everton since 2004 after making his name in the performance arts industry, namely behind the scenes of theatre successes Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

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Kenwright first appeared on the cobbles in 1968 where he played Gordon Clegg until 1969 when he decided to pursue other projects away from the show. However, he later appeared in the ITV soap intermittently until 1995 after never formally relinquishing his role.

He made an emotional return to the show in 2012 as Gordon’s mother Betty died, after the actress who played her Betty Driver died in 2011 aged 91.

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His on-screen character Gordon, spent just 12 months as a regular on the show but was involved in a major story line after he planned to marry partner Lucille Hewitt. But Gordon cancelled the wedding after taking a job in London and moving away, seeing him only become a fringe cast member.

Kenwright was a full-time singer and actor until the mid 1970s when he decided to focus on theatre productions. Alongside being behind the success of West End shows Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, his other productions included Whistle Down the Wind at the Palace Theatre, The Big Life, Elmina's Kitchen, Scrooge – The Musical, The Night of the Iguana and This is Elvis.

For his work in the industry, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Theatrical Management Association in 2018. And previously set up his own record production company in 1999.

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