British pop singer and actor. He was knighted in 1995.
Born in India, he returned with his family to Britain in 1947. While still working as a clerk in a television factory he played and sang in skiffle groups; in 1958 he had his first hit record, ‘Move It’. His backing group, originally called the Drifters and later renamed the Shadows, stayed with him until 1968. He made his film debut in Serious Charge (1959) and appeared in several subsequent films, mainly musicals. In Expresso Bongo (1960) he was cast as a pop singer; in Two a Penny (1968) he played a straight dramatic role. He has toured widely, appearing in eastern Europe and on German television in 1970; he also made his stage debut that year in Five Finger Exercise. He starred in the West End musical Time in 1986–87 and a decade later played the title character in Heathcliff, a musical adaptation of Wuthering Heights.
Richard's music evolved from an early attempt to imitate US rock 'n' roll in the 1950s to a blander middle-of-the-road style in the 1960s and thereafter. Although never fashionable, he has retained a loyal following. Now approaching sixty himself, he has maintained a clean-living boyish appearance, no doubt not totally unconnected with his conversion as a born-again Christian in the 1960s. He has continued to enjoy success in the pop single charts, being the only British artist to have had hits in every decade from the 1950s to the 1990s. A ghost-written autobiography, Which One's Cliff?, was published in 1977.