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Ray Alan (1930–2010) by Monty Fresco, 1979 [with puppet Lord Charles] © Monty Fresco / Rex Features

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Alan, Ray [name in religion Raymond Alan Whyberd] (1930–2010), ventriloquist, writer, and television presenter, was born on 18 September 1930 at 83 Dutton Street, Greenwich, London, the fourth son of Albert William Whyberd (1895–1984), shipping clerk, later a local government officer, and his wife, ...

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Dave Allen (1936–2005) by Trevor Leighton, 1999 Camera Press, London

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Allen, Dave [real name David Edward John Archer Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony] (1936–2005), comedian, was born on 6 July 1936 at Merrion House, Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, the youngest of three sons of (Gerard John) Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony (b. 1900), journalist and managing editor of the ...

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Allen, William Ernest (Chesney) (1894–1982), comedian and singer, was born at 7 Hamballa Road, Battersea, London, on 5 April 1894, the son of Edwin Allen, a prosperous builder, and his wife, Louisa, née Cridland. Allen's first employment on leaving school was as a solicitor's clerk. In 1912, at the age of eighteen, he made his début as an actor in repertory at the ...

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Angel, Edward (d. 1673), actor and comedian, first came to public notice in winter 1659–60, when he joined the troupe assembled by John Rhodes at the Cockpit in Drury Lane. Angel's earliest recorded appearance was as Florimel in Fletcher and Rowley's The Maid in the Mill...

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Ronald William George Barker (1929–2005) by unknown photographer, 1975 Getty Images

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Barker, Ronald William George [Ronnie] (1929–2005), actor and comedian, was born on 25 September 1929 at 70 Garfield Street, Bedford, the only son and second of the three children of Leonard William Barker, a clerk for Shell, and his wife, Edith Eleanor, née...

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Joseph Knight

revised by Katharine Cockin

Bartley, George (1782?–1858), comedian, was born in Bath in or about 1782; one source states 1784. His father was box-keeper at the Bath theatre, and he thus had early opportunities of acquiring some stage experience, appearing in such characters as the page in ...

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Bennett, William Robertson Russell [Billy] (1887–1942), comedian, was born in Glasgow, the son of John Bennett who partnered Robert Martell in the Bennett and Martell slapstick comedy act which was quite well known in the 1890s and Edwardian years. Billy Bennett made his youthful first appearance as the rear end of a cow and spent a period as an acrobat, but was not keen to emulate his father and enlisted in the army. He then returned to the stage as a burlesque comic, but re-enlisted for the duration of the First World War. He served in the ...