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SHE'S ESSEX GIRL; Sweet Verity's following the star of David.

They were the dream team of pop's golden age ... David Essex, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney Rod Stewart and Marty Wilde.

They sent women of all ages weak at the knees.

But they'd better look out. Because their little girls are set to steal their thunder.

The name's the same, but these are the new kids on the block...

Pretty Polly pin-up Jade Jagger earns pounds 5,000-a-day parading her pins in stockings, and her legs have the same effect on men today as her dad's lips did on women 20 years ago.

Stella McCartney's designer frocks are snapped up by her glam and gorgeous chums - Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell - who fight over her latest creations.

Young Kimberley Stewart's the one asking "Do ya think I'm sexy?" as she struts the catwalk, every bit the brassy blonde her old man was.

And blonde bombshell Kim Wilde sent pulses racing as a singer in her own right, following her dad's footsteps to the top of the charts. Now the latest lass to follow her father into the limelight is Verity Lee, daughter of David Essex.

The 22-year-old will join him in panto in Edinburgh this Christmas.

And he'll have to hold back when Verity's boyfriend comes to see her on stage - for the dreamy, blue-eyed heartbreaker who had women swooning at his feet used to scare off his daughter's admirers!

"He was a difficult guy to deal with when I started bringing boys home," she said.

"Even if they were just friends, he refused to shake their hands."

But she's forgiven her doting dad.

"It was `Look after my daughter or else!' Quite endearing really." And she's relieved he's finally accepted her boyfriend Jason, who's been around for nine years.

With a wild-man reputation for womanising and drugs, it's no wonder pop idol Essex was so protective of Verity.

When she was only seven, she recalls him showing the family up.

"We'd be in a restaurant and dad would be a bit silly and I'd tell him to sit down and behave.

"My parents are slightly mad anyway, but I took it on board to scold him. I used to be quite a little old woman, actually."

Essex has admitted that his family played a big part in getting him to kick the drug habit.

"It probably did have a lot to do with it," said Verity. "Any questions we asked about drugs got a straight answer, whether we wanted to hear it or not."

Verity and brother Danny, 19, were protected from their dad's screaming fans, but she said it was still an open and honest, if slightly wacky, household.

"We were sheltered, but in a good way, and we had the honesty as well," she said.

"Obviously dad was all over the place, and he always tried to make time for us. We were very important to him.

"I had a privileged upbringing. Danny and I went to private schools and there's never been a problem with money."

She was just one-year-old when he became a pop pin-up.

"My earliest memory was around three or four," she said.

"I went to one of dad's concerts, and the fans were screaming so you couldn't actually hear any music.

"And I said to mum, `If daddy didn't shout so much I'm sure they wouldn't scream'."

As she grew older, she got upset if her schoolfriends saw her dad picking her up. But their MUMS used to take advantage of her Essex ties.

"When I was young, their mothers used to continually invite me to tea," she said.

Dad was the draw.

Verity's not so coy about mentioning him as she used to be.

"I always used to think I must never mention I am David Essex's daughter," she said.

"But I have learned that it doesn't have to be a bad thing."

Her mum, Maureen, split from her dad many years ago, and although they're still officially married, he now lives with girlfriend Carlotta Christy. They have twin sons, Billy and Kit.

When it came to her career, Verity decided to make her own way and went to drama school - even though her parents tried to talk her out of it.

"It wasn't that they didn't believe I could do it," she insisted.

"I suppose they just saw the pitfalls, and to some extent so did I through following my father's career."

She chose to use a stage name instead of her own famous surname. "I didn't think it was necessary to be that blatant," she said.

"Besides, I think my stage name sounds quite good as well."

But she's still proud to be the daughter of David Essex.

"I have always liked his music," she said. "I find it amazing that anyone can create a song. Anyone who can do that has an amazing gift."

Now that she and her dad will finally be working together when they star in Robinson Crusoe, she realises it's inevitable they'll be compared.

"It's always going to be a topic of conversation, but as an actress I can be judged on my own," she said. "That is important to me."

And she's pleased they will spend more time together.

"I view him as a friend, we enjoy each other's company which doesn't always happen with parents," she said.

"People say you can't choose your parents.

"I am very fortunate that I get on with my brothers, my mother, my father equally."
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Docherty, Gavin
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 1, 1996
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