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Max Bygraves' son: "My dad was worthy of more respect"
12:00pm Friday 19th October 2012 in Latest
THE grieving son of Max Bygraves has condemned the “cruel headlines” which sullied the legendary entertainer’s memory, in the days following his death.
As Anthony Bygraves’ revealed plans for a permanent memorial for his father in Bournemouth, he said: “The headlines added to our heartache; he should have been treated with more respect.”
While the family struggled to come to terms with Max’s passing on August 31, one tabloid paper used the occasion to dwell on the skeletons which had haunted the much-loved variety performer.
Anthony doesn’t make excuses for his father’s affairs or three illegitimate children. He said: “It all happened a long time ago; dad worked away from home a lot. He was a very charismatic, good-looking man and when he came out of the stage door he was always surrounded by women.
“Those he got involved with would have known he was married and had children. I’m not saying that what he did was right but it takes two to tango.
“I met my two half-brothers; they seemed like really nice chaps but I didn’t tell mum because I felt like I was betraying her.
“She wasn’t the downtrodden, forgiving character portrayed in the press; she was a very strong woman.
“It must have been very hard for her; when she picked up a paper and read what was being said.
“It opened up old wounds but they had been together for 67 years and he adored her. Towards the end they were more like teenage sweethearts; always holding hands.
“He was so devoted to mum that he moved into her nursing home in Australia, so they could still be together. Even towards the end, when Alzheimer’s made him very confused, he kept asking for mum.”
Anthony, inset, who lives in Bournemouth, was Max’s manager. Choking back tears, he said: “I was on the road with dad for 15 years. He was an amazing influence on my life; my inspiration. I want to keep his memory alive.”
Anthony is planning to stage a concert in Bournemouth to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society and also wants a permanent memorial to his father in the resort.
He said: “Mum and dad lived here for more than 40 years; although they had places in other parts of the world Bournemouth was always home. Dad wanted to come back but sadly his frail health made the long journey impossible.”