b. 8 March 1925, Johannesburg, South Africa. An extremely popular singer in the UK, particularly in the 50s, with a sophisticated style that was particularly attractive to the young female population. Lotis trained for four years as a boy soprano, and won several cups and medals. He made his first stage appearance at the age of seven, and his first broadcast when he was nine. After leaving school, he worked as a bus conductor and electrician, and sang in cinemas and nightclubs in Johannesburg. When he moved to the UK in the early 50s, he carried with him a letter of introduction to Ted Heath from the former London saxophonist and band leader Don Barrigo. Following a couple of broadcasts with Henry Hall, Lotis joined the Heath band, and, together with the other resident vocalists Lita Roza and Dickie Valentine, became one of the most popular singers on the circuit. Lotis’ vocal talents were evident on such records as ‘Sam’s Song’, ‘Goodnight Irene’, ‘Nevertheless’ and ‘She’s A Lady’ (with Roza and Valentine). After enjoying a hit with ‘Cuddle Me’, he went solo, and during the late 50s toured the UK variety circuit, appeared in his first Royal Command Performances, and rejoined the Heath band for a tour of the USA, including an appearance at Carnegie Hall. He was also voted Top Male Singer in the 1957 Melody Maker poll. In 1956 he appeared in a touring production of the stage musical Harmony Close and, two years later, starred in John Osborne’s The World Of Paul Slickey, a ‘musical comedy of manners’ that was poorly received in Britain. Lotis also made several films, a mixture of drama, comedy, musicals and horror, including The Extra Day, It’s A Wonderful World, City Of The Dead and She’ll Have To Go. Among his other stage roles was an appearance as Lucio in John Neville’s Playhouse Production of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure. Adversely affected by the changing face of popular music, he played the working men’s clubs, and ran his own antiques and restaurant businesses for a time. Eventually, in the 80s and 90s, he returned to the theatres, singing in nostalgia shows with contemporaries such as Joan Regan and Russ Conway.
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