The world of Eurovision lost another one of its former participants on Monday, with the death of Belgian singer Bobbejaan Schoepen.
Belgium’s entrant in the 1957 Eurovision Song Contest passed away at the age of 85 on Monday. He was Belgium’s first participant to sing in the Dutch-Flemish language with the song Straatdeuntje. It finished 5th out of 10 songs in the contest, held in Hilversum.
Schoepen was born Modest Hyppoliet Joanna Schoepen near Antwerp on 16 May 1925. He married his Dutch opera singing wife Josee in 1961 and they had five children between 1962 and 1970. He was one of those ‘total entertainers’, excelling in singing, songwriting, comedy, acting and whistling.
In 1959, he cut back on his extensive touring, and bought some land on the Belgian coast. He created an amusement complex with a 1,000 seat theatre and a 2km beach. Over time, this evolved into the successful Bobbejaanland amusement park wich he and his family ran until 2004.
In recent years, his singing career was revived with the release of a compilation of 60 years in the music business. In 2008, he became the first European inducted into the American-based Whistler’s Hall of Fame.
He died on 17 May at Sint-Elisabeth hospital in the Belgian town of Turnhout.