Noel Harrison told Devon Life: “I’ve been very lucky”

Noel Harrison. Picture: Matt Austin

Noel Harrison. Picture: Matt Austin - Credit: Archant

The Windmills Of Your Mind star, who has died aged 79, spoke to Devon Life at his Ashburton home earlier this year

Noel Harrison. Picture: Matt Austin

Noel Harrison. Picture: Matt Austin - Credit: Archant

Noel Harrison, best remembered for singing the Oscar-winning 1960s hit Windmills Of Your Mind, has died aged 79 at his home in Ashburton.

The musician, who toured with The Beach Boys and Sonny & Cher, gave an interview to Devon Life magazine just a few weeks before his death.

For several years he had been on kidney dialysis and in the interview said: “The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital are taking very good care of me.”

In the interview, which appears in the November issue of the magazine, Noel speaks about his career and his famous father, the six-times-married movie legend Sir Rex Harrison.

Noel, who married three times and has five children, was born in London, raised in Cornwall, educated at top public school Radley.

He lived in Switzerland, the USA and Canada, before returning to the West Country in the early Noughties and made a home in a two-bedroom terraced house in Ashburton.

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He told Devon Life: “Luxury living was never my style. I preferred the rustic.”

Noel also talked about meeting Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn and the time he played opposite Stefanie Powers in the TV series The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

His best known work, Windmills Of Your Mind, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song of 1968 as it was the theme to the movie The Thomas Crown Affair.

Noel said: “People love that song, and it’s great to have a classic like that on my books.”

He has been married to former fashion stylist Lori Chapman for 25 years.

Speaking about his life in Devon he said: “My three daughters live close by, one of my sons has moved over from the States and the other lives in London. My four grandsons are within ten miles of here, which is great. I love to be surrounded by them.

“I look back on my life in general and feel quite happy about the way it’s gone. I’ve been very lucky and done some wonderful things.”

Photographer Matt Austin, who took pictures of Noel for Devon Life, said: “He was a very gentle and calm. He was playing away and singing songs as I took the pictures of him.”

Read the full interview in Devon Life’s November issue, which is on sale on Thursday.

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