Tributes pour in for Sheffield-born 'King of Clubs' Peter Stringfellow who has died after cancer battle
Tributes have poured in for flamboyant Sheffield-born 'King of Clubs' Peter Stringfellow who has died after a cancer battle.
A galaxy of stars lined up to express their sadness after the millionaire nightclub boss lost his battle with cancer aged 77 in the early hours of this morning.
Culture Club singer Boy George said: "R.I.P Peter Stringfellow. Wow, a big part of our lives and one of Sheffield’s finest. What a character. He introduced me and my mum to Princess Diana."
Comedian Ricky Gervais joked: "Peter Stringfellow is the reason I only ever wear leopard skin briefs. RIP."
Fellow funnyman David Baddiel shared an anecdote about meeting him and wrote: "I met Peter Stringfellow once. He had a sense of humour beyond the haircut.
"I asked him what he'd be doing if he hadn't ended up running strip clubs. He said: 'Two words: benefit fraud'."
Broadcaster Tony Blackburn described him as a "terrific guy who lived life to the full and was a wonderful person to be with."
He added: "He was always full of fun and to me was a big part of the 60s and 70s."
Lord Sugar said he "regretfully" did not know the fellow businessman well, but was sorry to hear of his death and wished Stringfellow's family well.
The business tycoon said: "He was a character and England is made up of characters, aren't we, and we've lost another flamboyant character."
Calum Best, son of legendary footballer George Best, thanked Peter for "taking care of me for years in his club" while comedian Rufus Hound joked: "RIP Peter Stringfellow. You’re with the angels now. So no change there."
BBC radio and TV broadcaster Stuart Linnell MBE added: "A steelworker’s son from Sheffield, he went from running live music in a church hall, via the Mojo Club in his home city to owning night clubs in London, New York and mooring his yacht next to that of the King of Spain. A full life. RIP."
Former Harlow MP Jerry Hayes described him as a "really lovely guy."
After leaving college at the age of 15, he took a string of jobs, including at a cinema in the city, before enrolling as an apprentice in the Navy.
His sailing career lasted two years, after which he returned to his home city when his nightclub career began.
In 1962, Stringfellow began renting St Aidan's Church Hall in Manor Lane every Friday night, known as the Black Cat Club.
The following year, The Beatles played at the Azena Ballroom in Gleadless - and it proved the turning point in his career.
He went on to arrange concerts at another venue in the city, the Blue Moon Club, where he attracted the likes of The Kinks, before he opened King Mojo Club in 1964.
Over the next three years, bands and singers such as The Who, Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart and Elton John played at the club.
Venues in Leeds and Manchester followed, before Stringfellow moved to London in 1980 and opened Stringfellows Covent Garden.
The Upper St Martin's Lane venue was an immediate hit, and became frequented by international film and rock stars, as did his subsequent clubs in New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
In the 1990s, Stringfellow introduced table dancing into his New York and Covent Garden clubs, before opening an adult entertainment club - Angels - in Soho in 2006.
Unlike his parents - who stayed married their whole lives - Stringfellow had an eventful love life which saw him wed three times.
In an interview with The Guardian in 2012, he explained how there were times in his life when "my business came first and along with that came the opportunity to have other women, and I took full advantage."
In 2009, the nightclub pioneer married 27-year-old former Royal Ballet dancer Bella Wright and the pair's two children Rosabella and Angelo were born when he was in his 70s.
Last year, he chose his London club as the venue for his children's naming ceremony.
In an interview with Hello! magazine, he said: "At the end of the day, Stringfellows is my heart and soul. This is where it all happens - it's even where I first met Bella."
In 2015, the nightclub mogul revealed he had secretly fought lung cancer in 2008, telling only a handful of friends and family to avoid unwanted attention.
Stringfellow's publicist Matt Glass announced his death earlier today and explained how the businessman had spent time in hospital.
He said: "It's very sad news. It was kept very private, he didn't want to tell. He wanted to keep it a secret."
Stringfellow was also grandfather to Taylor, Jaime, Thomas and Isabelle.