I read a while back that Waylon Jennings had been planning to move to the driest part of Australia for his health, to get away from mold. I don't know if he actually did that before his death, and wish I could find the article.
Michael Crawford, a musical theater actor from London, eventually got relief from his CFS after moving to New Zealand:
Nothing seemed to cure him, so he prescribed himself constant sunshine and moved to New Zealand, living in a small house near Auckland.
‘For two years, I didn’t feel well at all. Then I changed my entire regime, putting myself on a diet of healthy food and taking each day at a time, rather than worrying about the future. I went sailing and fishing every day and discovered the joys of gardening.’
After four years of ill health, Crawford was fit to work again. He got lots of tempting offers to return to performing, but was enjoying his stress-free life too much to get back on stage – ‘where I’d always pushed myself to the limit, and look what good it had done me. Obviously, quitting did cross my mind but I thought, no, I still love what I’ve been doing all my life. There’s nothing else I would want to do.’
Then, last summer, everything changed. He had arranged to rent a villa in Sicily and invite his extended family – his two daughters, Emma and Lucy, his five grandchildren, and his ex-wife Gabrielle, with whom he has remained friendly since their divorce in 1975, and her two sons from a previous relationship.
Just before he was due to go, he got a call to say that Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted him to play the title role in the Wizard Of Oz. He asked for time to think about it, and watched the original classic film starring Judy Garland. ‘I was intrigued because the Wizard appears in so many guises. He morphs into a doorman, a carriage-driver and the kindly old fortune-teller Professor Marvel.
'By the time I got to Sicily and spent two weeks with the grandchildren, I was so fired up with the fun I was having with them that it actually persuaded me I wanted to do it,’ he says. ‘They were the ones who swung it. They had seen me as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em, but they’d never seen me perform on stage, so I really did it for them.
TO his coastal neighbours, he's simply known as "Mike", who enjoys sailing and dropping a line but, for the rest of us, he's one of Britain's best-known stars of the stage and screen.
Michael Crawford has been living a quiet and secret life in a New Zealand beachside town for the past five years.
Instantly recognisable to most as the original Phantom Of The Opera or for playing hapless Frank Spencer in the hit British comedy, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Crawford moved to New Zealand after being diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
He said he relocated from the UK to get healthy and "smell the roses".
"If you want solitude, you can find it here and people are very respectful of that," the 70-year-old said.
"You make mates that are in completely different areas of life to yourself from what you've grown up in. My best mate here is a dairy farmer and we talk like every night for about 20 minutes about God knows what, sorting the world out, and we go sailing. They know me as Mike.. It is nice because you are called different things in different countries. I'm Mike here and I'm sure some terrible things in some countries. It's always Michael in England - it's more formal - but over here and in Oz it's Mike."
Despite moving to the opposite end of the globe, Crawford said he still had family close by. His daughter, Lucy, lives in Sydney with her husband and three children, so he regularly commutes across the Tasman.
"I love coming over here, just sneaking off and going around the place," he said.
"I love seeing my daughter and my grandkids and my son-in-law. It's good stuff."
Crawford flew to Sydney on Friday, heading to his daughter's home for a restful weekend before his scheduled An Audience With Michael Crawford appearance at the Queen Victoria Building's ABC store on Thursday.