76 Facts About Elaine Paige


Elaine Jill Paige is an English singer and actress, best known for her work in musical theatre.


In 1985, Elaine Paige released "I Know Him So Well" with Barbara Dickson from the musical Chess, which remains the biggest-selling record by a female duo.


Elaine Paige then appeared in the original stage production of Chess, followed by a starring role in Anything Goes which she co-produced.


Elaine Paige made her Broadway debut in Sunset Boulevard in 1996, playing the lead role of Norma Desmond, to critical acclaim.


Elaine Paige appeared in The King and I from 2000 to 2001, and six years later she returned to the West End stage in The Drowsy Chaperone.


Elaine Paige has released 22 solo albums, of which eight were consecutively certified gold and another four multi-platinum.


Elaine Paige is featured on seven cast albums and has sung in concerts across the world.


In 2014, Elaine Paige celebrated her 50 years in show business.


Elaine Paige announced on her official website a "Farewell" concert tour and a new career-spanning album The Ultimate Collection to mark this milestone in her career.


Outside of her work in musical theatre, Elaine Paige is a Vice-President of The Children's Trust, a UK charity for children with brain injury.


Elaine Paige Jill Bickerstaff was born and raised in Barnet, Hertfordshire, where her father Eric worked as an estate agent and her mother Irene was a milliner.


Elaine Paige's mother had been a singer in her youth, and her father was an amateur drummer.


At 14, Elaine Paige listened to the film soundtrack of West Side Story, which evoked the desire for a career in musical theatre.


Elaine Paige's father suggested that she should go to drama school, so she attended the Aida Foster Theatre School.


Elaine Paige was rejected in her first audition, singing "I Cain't Say No".


Elaine Paige was part of the band Sparrow with fellow West End singer Diane Langton, releasing the album Hatching Out in 1972.


Elaine Paige's performance won her critical acclaim and brought her into public prominence at the age of 30.


Elaine Paige eventually competed against Bonnie Schoen, an American initially favoured by Prince for the role.


Elaine Paige won the Variety Club Award for Showbusiness Personality of the Year.


Elaine Paige played the role for 20 months in total, from 1978 to 1980.


Elaine Paige released her first studio album in 1978, titled Sitting Pretty.


Just prior to her success in Evita, Elaine Paige had strongly considered becoming a nursery nurse, but after she sang for Dustin Hoffman, he made her promise that she would continue in theatre work.


Elaine Paige admitted that she was "fed up with the whole thing" and that she could not even afford new clothing or to eat out; "Evita saved me" she stated.


In 1981, in the Tales of the Unexpected episode "The Way to Do it", Elaine Paige plays Susie, a girl working in a small casino trying to keep guests happy and finally eloping with the main character.


Elaine Paige went on to portray some of Lloyd Webber's most notable female characters, creating the role of Grizabella in the original production of Cats from 11 May 1981 to 13 February 1982.


Elaine Paige took on the role late in the rehearsal process when the actress Judi Dench had to withdraw due to a torn Achilles tendon.


Elaine Paige reprised the role of Grizabella for the video release of Cats in 1998, one of only two performers in the film from the original London cast; the other was Susan Jane Tanner as Jellylorum.


Elaine Paige then originated the role of Florence for the 1984 concept album of Chess, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Ulvaeus and Andersson.


In 1985, Elaine Paige released "I Know Him So Well", a duet from Chess, singing with Barbara Dickson.


From 1986 to 1987, Elaine Paige appeared as Florence in the stage production of Chess, a role that earned her a second Olivier Award nomination, this time in the category, Best Actress in a Musical.


Elaine Paige then took on the part of Reno Sweeney in the musical production of Anything Goes, which she co-produced and starred in from 1989 to 1990.


Patti LuPone was appearing in Anything Goes on Broadway around that time, so Elaine Paige sought to become the co-producer of the West End production as a way to secure the role there before LuPone could take it.


In 1993, Elaine Paige signed up for a year as French chanteuse Edith Piaf in Pam Gems' musical play, Piaf, to critical acclaim.


The Guardian wrote that Elaine Paige was "a magnificent, perfect Piaf".


Elaine Paige subsequently released an album, titled Piaf, containing Edith Piaf songs.


In 1995, Elaine Paige was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to musical theatre.


Elaine Paige stepped briefly into the role of Norma Desmond in Lloyd Webber's West End production of Sunset Boulevard in 1994, when Betty Buckley was taken ill and had to undergo an emergency appendectomy.


The nature of the situation meant that Elaine Paige only had two-and-a-half weeks in the rehearsal process before her first performance.


Elaine Paige admitted feeling daunted by the prospect, having seen Glenn Close in the role on Broadway just prior to entering rehearsals.


Elaine Paige then won the Variety Club Award for Best Actress of the Year, and received her fifth Olivier Award nomination in 1996.


Elaine Paige returned twice, and her doctor subsequently sent her for tests that confirmed the lump was cancerous, nine months after she discovered it.


Elaine Paige went in for day surgery on a Sunday due to her theatre commitments, had five years of medical treatment and completed a radiation programme.


Elaine Paige has since described the period as "the most awful thing that's happened to me in my life".


Elaine Paige transferred to the New York production of Sunset Boulevard to make her Broadway debut at the Minskoff Theatre on 12 September 1996, staying with the show until it closed on 22 March 1997.


Elaine Paige was welcomed to the Broadway stage with a long standing ovation from the audience, and received largely positive reviews for her New York performance as Norma Desmond: "The lush sound and the sheer power of her voice are, to put it simply, incredible", wrote one critic, whilst another said "Her voice has great range, remarkable clarity and emotional force".


Elaine Paige was the first Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard to sing one of the show's key songs, "With One Look", which she did first at Lloyd Webber's wedding to Madeleine Gurdon, although at the time the song was called "Just One Glance".


In 1997, Elaine Paige made her United States concert debut when she opened the Boston Pops season, which was aired on WGBH in America.


Elaine Paige later performed alongside Bette Midler in a 1999 New York concert to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.


Elaine Paige had turned down an offer for the role the first time she was approached, but later accepted, admitting that she had "forgotten what a fantastic score it was", although she did question her own suitability for the role.


Elaine Paige sang at the opening of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and then made her Los Angeles concert debut at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.


Elaine Paige next sang the role of Mrs Lovett in the New York City Opera production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd in March 2004, earning positive reviews from critics, and a nomination for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.


Elaine Paige then embarked upon a UK tour which was titled "No Strings Attached".


Elaine Paige focused on television appearances, playing Dora Bunner in the 2005 ITV adaptation of Agatha Christie's A Murder Is Announced in the Marple series, before performing a guest role as a post mistress in Where the Heart Is.


At this point, Elaine Paige had recorded 20 solo albums in total, of which eight were consecutively certified gold and another four multi-platinum, and she had been featured on seven cast albums.


Elaine Paige appeared in concert in Scandinavia, Hong Kong, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.


Elaine Paige affirmed that she believes for older actors it becomes harder to obtain theatre roles.


Paul Taylor from The Independent was less impressed and wrote "a miscast Elaine Paige manages to be unfunny to an almost ingenious degree as the heroine's bibulous minder".


Elaine Paige next collaborated with the duo Secret Garden in recording the song "The Things You Are to Me" for their 2007 album, Inside I'm Singing.


Elaine Paige reprised this role in the Broadway transfer of the musical at the Marquis Theatre from August 2011 until the following January, before performing at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, California in May and June 2012.


The tour featured Gardar Thor Cortes performing a number of songs, both solo and duets with Elaine Paige, and was sold out at all venues.


Dates in Ireland were postponed before being rescheduled, with Elaine Paige giving four sold-out concerts in Dublin, Limerick and Cork between 10 and 16 February 2015.


Elaine Paige released a new career-spanning album The Ultimate Collection in May 2014.


In May 2015 Elaine Paige was part of VE Day 70: A Party to Remember, a special concert which took place at the Horse Guards Parade, and was broadcast live on BBC1 and BBC Radio 2.


Elaine Paige appeared in a new BBC adaptation of William Shakepeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream adapted by Russell T Davies as part of the Shakespeare 400 celebrations in 2016.


Elaine Paige returned for Pantoland at The Palladium in 2020, along with most of the 2017 cast as well as Beverley Knight.


In 2018, Elaine Paige played the part of Mercy Hackett in the BBC TV comedy Home from Home.


Elaine Paige has never married nor had children, although she had an 11-year relationship with the lyricist Tim Rice throughout the 1980s.


Elaine Paige has said that she wanted to have children, but "it's a wonderful life I have, so I'm very fulfilled in other ways".


Elaine Paige's singing abilities have won her worldwide praise, as have her acting skills, with Andrew Gans of Playbill magazine writing that "Elaine Paige's gift is to dissect a role and determine what phrasing, gesture or emotion can bring a scene to its fullest dramatic potential".


Elaine Paige considers herself primarily an actress, rather than a singer, stating, "I really prefer to be in character".


Elaine Paige concluded, "it's a quieter kind of singing, more controlled, not belting it out".


Elaine Paige never reads her reviews, finding that it is not helpful to hear too many opinions of her work.


In 2007, Elaine Paige named reality television series such as Any Dream Will Do, which aim to find an unknown actor to play the lead role in a musical, as the greatest threat to theatre today, believing that "actors already striving in the theatre wouldn't dream of putting themselves on these shows".


Elaine Paige has expressed a wish for more new musicals to be put into production, instead of frequent revivals.


Elaine Paige has been an Ambassador of The Children's Trust, the UK's leading charity for children with brain injury and neurodisabiity, for over 35 years, since the charity was created, when she first presented the charity with a minibus.


Elaine Paige has hosted and performed at fundraising events for the charity including hosting 5 bi-annual Elaine Paige Clay Pigeon Shoots.