Obituary: Diane Todd

Edinburgh-born star of hit stage musicals who was also popular on radio and TV

Born: 4 June, 1937 in Edinburgh.

Died: 18 April, 2010 in Kent, aged 72.

DIANE Todd became an international star of stage musicals but always attributed much of her success to her father, Eric, whose musicianhip as a brass player earned him a key chair in of the most popular dance bands of his day.

Diane was aged ten, a pupil at Sciennes Primary in her home town Edinburgh, when the family moved to London.

Her father had joined the broadcasting Billy Ternent Orchstra on lead trumpet and, as well as touring the major theatres in the UK, the band was regularly featured on BBC radio.

Consequently, through her father, she was in her early teens constantly at close quarters to the show business gossip around the house.

However, she was 17 before she had her first singing lesson, from Harold Miller, a top-rated London voice coach whose pupils had included Julie Andrews and Shirley Bassey.

Todd's major break came on television, when she appeared in the peak-viewing The Carroll Levis Discovery Show. Success in that show brought her considerable TV exposure and she was frequently the featured vocalist in Cliff Michelmore's Tonight programme on the BBC.

She made her film debut in 1956 in a cinema version of Six-Five Special, co-starring with Dickie Valentine, Petula Clark and the John Barry Seven. It was a huge hit with viewers. Diane's medium had been stage musicals and a successful audition for for the lead role of Eliza for a touring production of My Fair Lady took her to America, Canada and South Africa.

She met and married South African Douglas Cullinan, the great grandson of Sir Thomas Cullinan, head of a family that made a fortune from diamond mining, and settled there in 1965.

Douglas died of a heart attack in 1975 and Diane moved back to the UK to star in The Great Waltz, a Strauss-inspired show in London's Drury Lane.

After touring Europe with a her one-woman show she settled in Kent. She contracted leukaemia in March.

An Edinburgh-based relative of Todd's said: "Although Diane was much-travelled, she never lost her affection for her home city."

In accordance with her wishes, her ashes will be scattered here next month.