TO THE FANS, he is Herman ... They see him as a buoyant, live-wire performer with a flashing grin as powerful as undipped headlights. But in private life his name is Pete Noone. His manner is often quiet, and he thinks very seriously about a number of things - such as how you should behave if you're an actor ...
"There are times when being an actor scares me," Herman confessed one day while we were having lunch. "You see, I started out as an actor - doing small parts on TV. I just didn't go along with the way some of the people in the profession behaved. They seemed so artificial - so full of themselves. You could say they were always acting - whether they were on stage or not.
"I got into pop almost by accident. I went down to a Manchester club one night. The group there didn't have a singer. Some of the fans present recognised me - they had heard me sing a bit on telly. They practically carried me to the mike!
"I found I liked the folk in the pop world. They were down to earth. There was no nonsense about them. They were my kind of people. At one time I thought I would just stay a pop singer. I hated the thought of going back to acting.
"But the offers came for me to do films. I couldn't refuse them - either for my sake or for the group - the Hermits. So I came back to acting. But always there's that fear that I might start acting posh - putting on airs. I would hate that. I have told the Hermits to give me a good kick in the seat of my pants if I show the least sign of it."
Herman's basically serious attitude meant a delay in the start of his film career. "There were offers," he told me, "for me to go into some of those pop films - the kind that are just a glorified sort of stage show - with one act following another in a corny sort of way.
"That didn't interest me. I preferred to work towards a serious film career. Mind you, I don't want to make myself out as anything special - either as a movie singer, actor or comedian. I just want to play parts that suit me - but I aim to make the best possible job of them."
During the last year or so, Herman has
also taken a more serious approach to the business side. He admts that at first he reacted to a packed audience by feeling terribly excited. Show business to him was "a wonderful place of bright lights and glamour". But later he came down to earth ...
"I am still excited by seeing a packed house - but I also work out how much money it represents. I get a kick out of seeing a disc of ours in the charts - but I also find out how many copies it sold to get there - and how many twopences there are towards our royalties!"
Herman keeps in close touch with his accountant. He allows himself £50 a week for living expenses. The rest of his vast income is invested. "One day," he told me, "I would like to buy a hotel. I think I would know how to run it right. I stay so often in hotels in my job, I have learned the good points and the bad about them through hard experience."
Much as he enjoys a visit to the States, Herman says he would never like to settle there. "America is fine," he argues, "if you want to have a ball - if you enjoy things happening at top pace all the time - but this is something that can pall. It can start to bore you. That is why Manchester and Liverpool are good enough for me!"
Herman thinks the world of his family: Mum, Dad, married sister Denise and baby Suzanne. "The encouragement I have always received at home has been a wonderful help in building my career," he says. "I've also had plenty of practical help. Do you know that once - when I was due to fly to America - Mum ironed 37 shirts for me in 24 hours. Reckon that must be a world record!"
Certainly the Noone family must be proud of their Pete. Quite apart from all his hit discs (they have scored on both sides of the Atlantic) the Herman screen career seems set fair. MGM were so impressed by his showing with Connie Francis in When The Boys Meet the Girls, they promptly signed him for that riotous comedy, Hold On! There's No Place Like Space. What's more, Herman has lovely Shelley Fabares as his love interest!
Yes, it seems Herman and his boys are now established favourites with film and disc fans. This makes Herman grin all the more widely, but it also keeps the serious side of him very fully occupied!