Nick Kamen: who was the model and singer, what happened in the Levi’s advert - and what songs did he sing?

Tributes have poured in from Madonna, Duran Duran and other celebrities following Kamen’s death at 59

Model and actor Nick Kamen has died at the age of 59, a friend of his family confirmed.

The actor was best known for appearing in the 1985 Levi jeans advert filmed in a launderette.

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Kamen also had a successful music career, with his song Each Time You Break My Heart reaching the top five in 1986.

The actor was best known for appearing in the 1985 Levi jeans advert filmed in a launderette (Getty Images)

Who was Nick Kamen?

Nick Kamen, whose real name was Ivor Nevile Kamen, was born in Harlow, Essex, and rose to fame in the 1980s.

The star first came to public attention when he appeared on the front of The Face magazine in 1984 wearing a ski hat, lipstick and aviator sunglasses.

After the airing of his famous 1985 levis advert, Kamen received attention from many well known celebrities, including Madonna, who told the BBC at the time that she had been taken by his “charisma”.

The pop singer got in touch and offered him Each Time You Break My Heart, which was originally set to feature on her third album, True Blue, and also sang backing vocals. The song charted at number five in the UK.

Kamen followed up with the track of Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever, originally by the Four Tops. The song peaked at number 16 in the UK singles chart, and reached number one in Italy.

He topped the charts again in Italy with 1988's Tell Me, to which Madonna again provided backing vocals, and got to number one in Austria and Sweden with 1990's I Promised Myself.

What was the 1985 Levis’s advert?

In Levi’s famous 1985 jeans commercial, Kamen arrived at a launderette. He then proceeded to strip down to his boxer shorts as several women looked on.

The advert was soundtrtacked by Marvin Gay’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine, and helped elevate Kamen’s status as a sex symbol.

Sales of Levi’s rocketed after the advert aired, with some estimates seeing them go up by 800%.

A post on the Levi Strauss website said “Dressed in a T-shirt and 501 jeans, model Nick Kamen immediately caught the eye and interest of everyone watching him onsite and onscreen.”

The plan was for Nick to inspire wannabe fans to dress the same - "and it worked,” the post added.

What stars have paid tribute to Nick Kamen?

Duran Duran's John Taylor paid tribute, remembering Kamen as "one of the loveliest and gentlest men" he had ever met.

Kamen’s friend and fellow singer Boy George led the tributes on Wednesday, describing him as "the most beautiful and sweetest man".

Susie Cave, former model and muse to British designers Vivienne Westwood, Bella Freud and Philip Treacy, was among those paying tribute on social media, sharing a photo of her "sweet friend".

Comedian Matt Lucas, paid tribute saying “if you didn’t have a crush on Nick Kamen in the 80’s, you probably weren’t there. RIP”.

Writer Jennifer Nadel, the co-director of Compassion in Politics, wrote that she was “heartbroken” at the passing of her “dear friend”, adding: “The most gentle, loving, beautiful and mischievous soul, now on the next stage of his journey. Blessed to have known and loved him.”