Born In: Blackpool, England
A talented English artist, Cynthia Lennon, was best known as John Lennon’s first wife, and the mother of Julian Lennon. John and Cynthia first met at the Liverpool College of Arts during a calligraphy class, and they started dating around the time the Beatles were in their formative years. As such, she was one of the select few to have experienced the phenomenon that was Beatlemania from the proverbial ‘ringside seat’. However, the band’s stardom, and especially that of John’s exacted a heavy price from her marital life. She realized her days as a Beatles wife had come to an end when she walked in on her husband, with John Lennon and his lover Yoko Ono in bathrobes, sitting on the floor facing one another. After the divorce, she tried to make a life for herself and her son, Julian through her art. This included an illustrated and witty biography about her early life, and some on and off design works for different brands. During her later years, she travelled around the world to various Beatles themed exhibitions. But her most memorable ones were the visits she made as an ambassador for her son’s philanthropic organization to different parts of Asia and Africa.
Also Known As: Cynthia Powell Lennon
Died At Age: 75
Spouse/Ex-: 1962–1968 - John Lennon, 1970–1973 - Roberto Bassanini, 1976–1983 - John Twist, 2002–2013 - Noel Charles
father: Charles Edwin Powell
mother: Lillian Roby
siblings: Anthony Powell, Charles Powell
children: Julian Lennon
Born Country: England
Height: 1.6 m
place of death: Calvià, Majorca, Spain
Cause of Death: Cancer
education: Liverpool College of Art
Cynthia Lennon was born Cynthia Powell on 10 September 1939 in a boarding house in Blackpool, England, to Charles Powell and Lillian Powell. She was the youngest child of her parents and had two elder brothers.
In 1950, she took part in an art competition organized by the newspaper publishing house, Liverpool Echo and received a prize for her work. In 1951, she gained admission into Junior Art School in Liverpool.
Following her father’s untimely demise in 1956; her mother, Lillian, rented out one of the rooms to raise money for her daughter’s higher education. A year later, Cynthia gained admission at the Liverpool College of Art.
Cynthia Lennon took up a calligraphy class, where she met John Lennon for the first time. He eventually asked her out during a party. She was at the time, engaged to Barry, a Hoylake resident. She accepted the offer, nonetheless and couple began dating sometime in 1958.
Despite their rocky relationship, the bond between them grew stronger. When John had to constantly shuttle between Liverpool and Hamburg (1960-1962) during the Beatles’ formative years, he frequently wrote passionately worded letters to her.
In 1962, she became pregnant with John’s child and on 23 August 1962, the duo got married. However, the couple had to keep their marriage and pregnancy a secret, so as not to upset the female fans of the Beatles. A year later, she gave birth to Julian.
After she accompanied the band on a trip to India to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in 1967, she got to know about all of John’s affairs when he confessed about them to her on the flight back home.
The last strain on her marital relationship was when she found Yoko Ono with John upon returning home early from a trip to Greece. The two finally divorced in 1968, after she agreed to a settlement of £100,000, a further £100,000 as a trust fund money for their son, Julian.
Cynthia Lennon began auctioning some of John Lennon’s mementos after his death in 1980. One such item – a hand drawn Christmas card that John made– fetched her £8,800 at a Christie’s, the following year. She auctioned off all of John’s memorabilia she possessed a decade later to steady her finances.
After her divorce from John Twist in 1982, she changed her name back to Cynthia Lennon by way of deed poll. Thanks to surname change, the following year she was able to land a three-year contract with Vantona Vyella to design bedding and textiles for the brand.
In 1988, she ventured, albeit unsuccessfully, into the perfume industry. She named her creation, ‘Woman’ after one of the John Lennon’s songs. A year later, she opened a restaurant named, Lennon’s in Covent Garden, London. However, that venture too was short-lived.
She made her recording debut in 1995 with a rendition of Those Were The Days. While the original, sung by Mary Hopkins decades earlier was a raging hit during its time, Cynthia Lennon’s version sadly did not even reach the chart.
In 1999, a collection of her past paintings and drawings were showcased at an art exhibition in the KDK Gallery. She was living in Normandy, France at the time.
In the later years (2005-2010), she attended various exhibitions and around the world commemorating the Beatles’ legacy. The ‘Timeless’ exhibition at New York’s Morrison Hotel Gallery was special as it featured Cynthia Lennon, Julian Lennon, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and May Pang together for the first time in public audience.
Cynthia Lennon wrote two memoirs, A Twist of Lennon (1978) and John (2005), detailing certain facets of her time together with John Lennon during the Beatlemania years. The former garnered renewed interest following John’s death and 20,000 copies were printed in 1981.
Several of her cartoon style drawings from her 1999 auction are on display at Liverpool’s Beatles Story Museum.
After her divorce with John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon married hotelier Roberto Bassanini in July 1970; the two divorced in 1976. Two years later, she got married to John Twist, a Lancashire based engineer and divorced him in 1981. Then came Jim Christie, a chauffeur from Liverpool. The couple enjoyed a 17-year-long relationship that ended in 1998. Her marriage with Barbadian nightclub owner, Noel Charles in 2002 was her last.
After a brief struggle with cancer, Cynthia Lennon passed away in Majorca, Spain on April 1st, 2015. She was 75 years at the time and is survived by her son, Julian.
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