A beautiful lifeWednesday, March 27, 2019
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
IN 1980, a 20-year-old Dorraine Yvette Samuels wore the sash Miss Ponds in the Miss Jamaica World beauty pageant. She placed fifth to winner Michelle Ann Harris and took the sectional prize for Most Photogenic.
More importantly, that contest was the launchpad for a near 40-year career in broadcasting on radio and television.
The contestants were required to record an introduction for playback at the coronation show. The recording took place at RJR, the station where Samuels would grace the air for most of her career. She remembered during the taping, broadcaster Don Topping kept asking her to repeat her lines and she became flustered, wondering if she was not pronouncing a word correctly; in fact, he was impressed with her delivery.
Managing director of Spartan Health Club, Mickey Haughton-James, was franchise holder for Miss Jamaica World at the time; he is saddened at Samuels' passing.
Samuels died at the University Hospital of the West Indies yesterday from cancer. She was 59.
“This news is not surprising as only last week I met a mutual friend who told me of her illness, but at the same time it does not make it any less sad. I definitely remember her from the pageant in 1980. That was a very strong year and she was fourth. But what I remember most is how veteran broadcaster Neville Willoughby was taken with her voice. Neville was MC for the show and from what I gather he really encouraged her to pursue broadcasting,” Haughton-James told the Jamaica Observer.
By 1982, Samuels was a fixture on radio, starting out as host on Sunday mornings, then the mid-morning slot, Jamaica Today, on weekdays. Her banter with Morning Man Allan Magnus at 9:00 am became legendary.
Like Magnus and Willoughby, Samuels tried her hand at singing. She covered Crystal Gayle's The Woman in Me which was arranged and produced by Samuels —who also played guitar — and her first husband Alan Rickards.
The Woman in Me was distributed on the Sonic Sounds label.
She is survived by three children. Her second husband, Karl Binger, predeceased her in 2011.