A Rockpaedia Obituary
Dorothy Squires died aged eighty-three in 1998 of lung cancer, at Llwynypia Hospital, Rhondda, Wales, U.K. Her remains are interred in a family plot in Streatham Park Cemetery, London, U.K.
Dorothy Squires was born in her parents' carnival caravan in Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire, Wales,U.K. to a steelworker, Archibald Squires, and his wife, Emily, who bought Dorothy a ukulele. While working in a tin plate factory, Dorothy began to perform professionally as a singer at the age of sixteen in the working men's club of Pontyberem.
While working as a nurse in London, Dorothy Squires auditioned unsuccessfully for jobs untill she met agent Joe Kay, who got her night time work in various clubs. While working in the East End, she worked at a club which gave her the name Dorothy, which she liked and used on stage after that time. Dorothy Squires did most of her work with the orchestra of Billy Reid, who was her partner for many years. After she joined his orchestra in 1936, he began to write songs for her to perform.
In the immediate post-war, she worked on the BBC radio show Variety Bandbox, which subsequently made her the highest paid female singer in the UK. Dorothy Squires and Reid bought a 16-bedroom house in Bexhill on Sea, and working with him she recorded the original version of Reid's composition, "A Tree in the Meadow", best known in the United States for the recording by Margaret Whiting, which reached No.1 on the US pop chart.
Her version of another Reid-penned song, "I'm Walking Behind You", was covered by Eddie Fisher which became a No.1 hit single in the US, and her recording of "The Gypsy" also became a No.1 hit there after being recorded by the Ink Spots – their biggest hit. It was also a major hit for Dinah Shore.
Whilst working with Billy Reid, Dorothy Squires lived at 16 Chaucer Road, Herne Hill, Brixton, London.
Dorothy Squires met Roger Moore who was twelve years her junior at one of her lavish parties at her mansion in Wansunt Road, Old Bexley, Kent. He later became her second husband when they married in New Jersey on 6th July 1953. She said many times over the years "it started with a squabble, then he carried me off to bed." She took him to Hollywood and introduced him to various people in the film industry, and they partied with Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Doris Day and Rock Hudson. As his career took off, hers started to slide. Their marriage lasted until 1961, when Moore left her and moved in with Luisa Mattioli. Moore was unable to marry legally until Dorothy Squires agreed to a divorce in 1969 – the day on which she was convicted of drunk driving.
Returning to living in the UK, Dorothy Squires had a career revival in the late 1960s at the age of fifty-five with a set of three singles making the UK Singles Chart, including a cover of "My Way". New albums and concerts followed included a sell out set of concerts at the London Palladium. Dorothy Squires herself had hired the Palladium for a series of shows, and they exceeded expectations and sold out of tickets within hours. A double album of the event was issued.
In 1971 she undertook the first of 30 court cases over the next 15 years. In 1971 she successfully sued the News of the World over the story "When Love Turned Sour", and was awarded £4,000. In 1972 she took out a libel action against the actor Kenneth More for mistakenly referring to Mattioli as Roger Moore's "wife" when he was still legally married to Dorothy Squires. Michael Havers acted for Kenneth More, who won the case. In 1973 she was charged with high kicking a taxi driver who tried to throw her out of his cab. She was also one of several artists charged with allegedly trying to bribe a BBC radio producer as part of a scheme to make him play her records; the case was dropped.
In 1974 her Bexley mansion burned down, from which she escaped with her dog and all her love letters from Roger Moore. She then moved into a house in Bray next to the River Thames, which flooded three weeks later.
By 1982 she had been banned from the High Court, and had spent much of her fortune on legal fees. Her litigiousness was so excessive that, on 5 March 1987, the High Court declared her to be a "vexatious litigant", preventing her from commencing any further legal actions without the permission of the Court. In 1988 following bankruptcy proceedings she lost her home in Bray, to which she returned the following night to recover her love letters from Moore. Her last concert was in 1990, to pay her Council Community Tax .
Dorothy Squires was provided with a home in Trebanog, Rhondda, South Wales, by a fan, Esme Coles where she died.