Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Robert Goulet!

Here's a guy I've wanted to caricature for awhile, so when I saw his birthday coming up I figured this was a good opportunity to finally draw the magnificent Robert Goulet! When it comes to male vocalists, my preference has always run toward the crooners and balladeers of the 1950s and early 60s, before rock and roll took a stranglehold on the industry. I like mature male singers with strong, rich baritones, and Robert Goulet was the epitome of that style of singer, with a bold baritone that was practically operatic.

Though born in Massachusetts, Mr. Goulet was of French Canadian heritage, and after the tragic early death of his father when Robert was 13, the family moved to Alberta. He took music and voice lessons and found early success in Toronto. It was also in Toronto that Robert Goulet first hit it big, when he was cast as Sir Lancelot in Lerner and Loewe's Camelot opposite Julie Andrews and Richard Burton, which made its stage debut at Toronto's brand new O'Keefe Centre in 1960.

The ruggedly handsome singer went on to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show and did various other TV appearances throughout the 60s and 70s, becoming a popular entertainer in nightclubs and concert halls. Oddly enough, one very strange bit of trivia is that Elvis Presley was not a fan of Goulet, to the point where it is rumoured that when Elvis was home watching TV while Robert Goulet was performing, Elvis got so incensed that he grabbed his gun and shot the screen out! Though apparently Goulet was not the only one that affected Elvis like that, as it's been indicated he blasted a number of TV sets over the years.

In 1992, I had the opportunity to see Robert Goulet on stage in a touring revival production of Camelot when I was living in Florida. By this time, the older Goulet had graduated to the role of King Arthur, but as terrific as he was, I really wish I'd been around to see him in his original role of Lancelot, when he got to perform his signature hit, If Ever I Would Leave You, one of the loveliest songs ever written by Lerner and Loewe.

Sadly, we lost Robert Goulet in 2007 when he died just a month before hitting age 74. He was a terrific talent with such a powerful singing voice. In closing, here is a very sweet clip from a TV special from 2000, My Favourite Broadway, in which the show's hostess, Julie Andrews is reunited with her co-star from Camelot, Robert Goulet as he serenades her with the aforementioned, If Ever I Would Leave You. As this clip testifies, Goulet was still in exceptionally fine voice. Enjoy!

No comments: