SHE was the little girl that
Britain would never let grow
up. She made twenty-five films
in her early years--most of
which she would rather now forget--but when the child star
became a woman there seemed
to be no place for her.
Things got to such a point
that Pet decided to give it all
up. Go off round the world. Anywhere. But she just had to get
away to start again, to change
The next chapter in the Petula
Clark story reads like a Holly-
wood scenario. She met Claude
Wolff, a French music publicist.
They mated and started a
family. Claude took charge of
her business affairs and her
career. And from that moment
on Pet was a changed woman.
Her career has never looked
Today Pet Clark is a sophisticated pop star, an international
cabaret artist, and about to be
seen again in a major Hollywood
movie. All credit, says Pet, is
due to her husband.
She finds it hard to believe
that she was ever the little girl
generations of British filmgoers still remember. `It all
seems so distant, and vaguely in
the past' It Is only here that
she is reminded of her past
career, for her new fans in other
lands never saw the early films.
Just before she started work
on her BBC-1 series Pet had
a one-day stop-over in London
to make a new record. She had
come from Paris, and the next
morning she was off on her way
back to Hollywood where she
had left her children.
She welcomed me to her suite
at her Bond Street hotel. In the corner lay the symbol of her life
today, an open half-packed suitcase. Tucked rather sadly on top
were two string-tied brown-paper parcels-presents for Bar-
bara and Catherine.
It's often a lonely world when
you're a travelling star. True,
everyone wants to see you, producers, recording men, the press,
but the personal loneliness is
Her husband shields her from
this glare - sometimes perhaps too
efficiently - for on this day
the person at the centre of the
Pet Clark industry lunched
alone. In the scamper to fix
deals Claude had called every-
one into an all-day meeting. And
Pet, not to be disturbed, was left
For the evening she was
booked from six o'clock until
midnight in a recording studio
making her new single. We had
an hour to talk before she began
rehearsals. The next morning
the plane left London Airport
for America at 11.0 a.m.
She sat on the brightly
coloured sofa. She was wearing
a black woollen mini-dress, with
a dazzling gold chain around her
waist. Smaller than you expect,
blonde with huge sparkling eyes,
and flutter lashes. She leant forward and talked for a moment-
about the debit side of being a
`In this business you are so
busy projecting yourself, I guess
that's the word, that you miss
those lovely quiet moments
when there is absolutely nobody
When you can lie onthe grass and watch the ants.
Things like that. I can't remem-
ber when I last did it. I'd like to
do that again.
Look at the ants, and the
leaves, and the grass. After a
while Hollywood, Paris, London,
Rome, and all that rushing
about.. . it doesn't matter at all.
I want to get down to looking at
things again. Right now, that's
very important to me.
I'm really happiest when I'm
on the stage, I suppose, completely free of all troubles, and
I can just let myself go. I love
to sing. I would never, never,
never give that up.'
She talks with a slow, gentle
voice with just a hint of an Irish
accent. This is a hangover from
her part in Finian's Rainbow.
`At the end of the film Fred
Astaire, Tommy Steele, and I
were all using rich Irish brogue.
It's very hard to stop now.'
Does she think that she works
Sometimes I think so. Most
of the time I don't have time to
think whether I'm working too
or not. I always make sure
that. I have time to see the
They were with us in Los
Angeles when I was making
Finian's Rainbow. Sometimes
they weren't up when I left, but
I knew they were there. I could
go home and put them to bed, and ring them up during
the daytime, and sing them songs.
It's going back to an empty house
which is so awful.'
What is it that stops her
throwing up her career and just
being a mum at home?
I've thought about it, of
course, and little things they say,
and sometimes I wonder if I
should go on. But they're really
very happy. I don't know If I
could be completely happy
giving up my career, and I don't
think it would be good for them
having an unhappy mother.
We're a very happy family the
way we are.
`If I ever saw that our children were suffering, becoming unhappy because of my work, I
would give it up. I really would,
there is no question about that
They really do
come first in our
Talking about Pet's children,
you have found the warmest
side of her. She speaks from the
heart, sometimes perhaps close
to tears when recalling some of
their childish antics and sayings.
She is not the big Hollywood
star, but a woman and a very
tender mother. This is what she
has been trying to tell everyone
for years, but the explanation
was too simple and uncomplicated for the world to listen.
What about show-business
careers for her two daughters?
`I hope not,' said Pet firmly
but I can see already that the
little one is the raw material fat
a star. She is just outrageous
she was born a beatnik, as wild
as they come.
She is determined to keep her
children as `un-showbiz' as possible. She steers the professional
side of her life siell away from
them. `When I'm giving interviews or having my picture
taken they know that they have
to leave the room. They don't
around listening or posing.
They're not like that. I never,
ever let them stay up late.
`I remember once in Montreal
when I was doing a one-woman
show they came to a matinee
and during the interval they
came round backstage and the
little one said: "Mummy, we've
just seen Mummy on the stage."
They know that as soon as I am
in their presence I am all theirs,
and they are are mine. That's
the only way I can cope. It's
difiicult, but just possible.'
Pet is not the least starry-
eyed about her film career. She
had just signed a contract to
appear in the musical version of
Goodbye Mr. Chips with Peter
O'Toole, `my biggest break
But she is not at all dazzled
for she speaks with the authority
of someone who has seen it all
before. `I know that it's a very
shaky thing being up there.
What I'd like to do is one film
a year, and a few concerts
around the globe. I discovered
that we spend more time in
other people's houses and rented
houses than we do in our
I'd like to see that end,`And the rest of the time I'd
just like to be me, whoever that
Her London manager, Martin
Wyatt, arrived to take her to
the recording session. She put
on her black fur mini-coat and
came out into the lift.
She was laughing as she
ducked out into the London
drizzle. A happy, contented
woman, but a little incomplete
without her two daughters whom
she loves-and needs.