Everton chairman Bill Kenwright dies aged 78

Everton FC chairman, West End theatre producer and one-time Coronation Street actor Bill Kenwright dies aged 78. Tony McDonough reports

Bill Kenwright
Bill Kenwright, chairman of Everton Football Club, has died aged 78


Everton FC chairman and West End producer Bill Kenwright has died aged 78, the club announced on Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement on its website, Everton said Mr Kenwright had “passed away peacefully last night aged 78, surrounded by his family and loved ones”. He had been chairman of the club for almost 20 years.

“The club has lost a chairman, a leader, a friend, and an inspiration,” said the statement. “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Everton are with his partner Jenny Seagrove, his daughter Lucy Kenwright, grandchildren and everybody who knew and loved him.

Born in the Liverpool suburb of Wavertree, Mr Kenwright attended the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys from 1957 to 1954. He appeared in Coronation Street in 1968 as businessman Gordon Clegg.

He made other sporadic TV appearances as an actor but Mr Kenwright made his name as one of the UK’s most successful theatre producers.

His string of West End hits included Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers, and Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

However, his beloved Everton FC always loomed large in his life. He became a board member on October 23, 1989. On Boxing Day 1999 his True Blue Holdings consortium acquired the Club

Initially vice-chairman, he succeeded his close friend Sir Philip Carter as chair in 2004. In 19 seasons the club secured 12 top eight finishes, including a top four finish in 2005, a run to the 2009 FA Cup final and European qualification on six separate occasions.

In 2016, Mr Kenwright sold half of his stake in the club to British-Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri – though he stayed on as chairman. Mr Moshiri continued to increase his stake and currently owns 94% of Everton.

However, he has now agreed a deal to sell his stake to US investment fund 777 Partners. This deal is currently awaiting approval by regulators.

Mr Kenwright was awarded a CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List, for services to film and theatre.

In a statement on Tuesday his family said: Following a long battle with illness Bill passed away peacefully last night, surrounded by his family and loved ones.

“Bill was driven by his passions and devoted his life to them; his deep love of theatre, film, music and his beloved Everton, and the families they created.

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“He impacted the lives of thousands, whether that be through the launching of careers or his unending loyalty, generosity and unfaltering friendship and support.

“In a multi-award-winning career spanning six decades, Bill produced over 500 West End, Broadway, UK touring and international theatre productions, films and music albums. His impact on the arts industry has been profound.”

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