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Askey, Arthur Bowden (1900–1982), actor and entertainer, was born on 6 June 1900 at 29 Moses Street, Liverpool, the elder child and only son of Samuel Askey (d. 1958), secretary of the firm Sugar Products of Liverpool, and his wife, Betsy Bowden (...

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Atwell, (Una) Winifred (c. 1913–1983), pianist and entertainer, was born on 27 April c.1913 in Jubilee Street, Tunapuna, near Port of Spain, Trinidad, the only child of a chemist, Frederick Monroe Atwell (d. 1958), and a district nurse, Sarah Elizabeth (...

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Belzoni, Giovanni Battista (1778–1823), performing artist and Egyptologist, was born on 5 November 1778 in Padua, the son of a barber, Giacomo Belzoni, and his wife, Teresa. He went to Rome aged sixteen to prepare himself for monastic orders; he claimed also to have studied hydraulics. The French invasion of ...

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Brown, Janet McLuckie (1923–2011), actress and impressionist, was born on 14 December 1923 at 26 Hamilton Road, Rutherglen, near Glasgow, the daughter of Andrew Brown, a sheet-iron worker in the Clyde shipyards, and his wife, Helen McLuckie, née Russell. She was educated at ...

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Cook, Peter Edward (1937–1995), humorist and entertainer, was born on 17 November 1937 at Shearbridge, Middle Warberry Road, Torquay, Devon, the only son and eldest of the three children of Alexander Edward (Alec) Cook (d. 1984), colonial civil servant, and his wife, ...

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Desmond, Florrie [real name Florence Elizabeth Dawson] (1905–1993), actor and impersonator, was born Florence Elizabeth Dawson on 31 May 1905 at 64 Bride Street, Lower Holloway, London, the daughter of George Dawson, a bootmaker who loved the theatre, and his wife, Ada Baker...

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Devant, David [real name David Wighton] (1868–1941), conjuror and illusionist, was born on 22 February 1868 at 4 Boston Terrace, Holloway, London, eldest of the seven children of James Wighton, a Scottish artist, and his wife, Mary Ansell. After attending local schools he worked at several jobs before becoming a professional entertainer. His interest in magic was aroused when he was about twelve and was fuelled by visits to ...

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Errol, Bert [real name Isaac Whitehouse] (1883–1949), singer and female impersonator, was born on 11 August 1883 at 106 Aston Road, Aston, Birmingham, the son of Isaac Whitehouse, brass lock founder, and his wife, Elizabeth Griffiths. He began his career in Birmingham...

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Michael Meyer

revised by Marc Brodie

Flanders, Michael Henry (1922–1975), actor and lyricist, was born on 1 March 1922 in Hampstead, London, the eldest of three children and the only son of Peter Henry Flanders and his wife, Rosa Laura (Laurie), daughter of Charles O'Beirne of Hastings. His father had followed various occupations, including that of cinema manager; his mother was a professional musician. ...

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Green, Hugh Hughes [Hughie] (1920–1997), entertainer, was born at 8 Weymouth Court, 1 Weymouth Street, St Marylebone, London, on 2 February 1920, the son of Hugh Aitchison Green, fish broker and former major in the Canadian militia, and his wife, Violet Elenore, née...

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Grossmith, George (1847–1912), entertainer and author, was born in London on 9 December 1847, the eldest of the three children of the journalist and entertainer, George Grossmith (1820–1880) and his wife, Louisa Emmeline Grossmith, née Weedon (d. 1882). While his father was alive he was referred to outside the family as ...

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Lanchester [married name Laughton], Elsa Sullivan (1902–1986), actress and entertainer, was born on 28 October 1902 at 48 Farley Road, Lewisham, London, the second child of James Sullivan (d. 1945), factory worker and later commercial clerk, and Edith Lanchester (1871–1966), daughter of ...

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Mills, Annette [real name Edith Mabel Mills] (1894–1955), entertainer, was born in Chelsea, London, the elder of the two children of Lewis Mills (1867–1953), schoolmaster, and his wife, Edith (1868–1935). Her brother was the actor Sir John Mills (1908–2005). She changed her name to ...

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Monkhouse, Robert Alan [Bob] (1928–2003), entertainer and comedian, was born at 168 Bromley Road, Beckenham, Kent, on 1 June 1928, the younger son of Wilfred Adrian Monkhouse (d. 1957), a company head accountant, and his wife, Dorothy Muriel, née Hansard (d...

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Newley, (George) Anthony (1931–1999), entertainer and songwriter, was born on 24 September 1931 at 230 High Street, Hackney, London, the son of (Frances) Grace Newley, of Clapton Park, London. His father (whom he did not know as a child) was a local builder. At a later stage ...

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Nuttall, Jeffrey Addison [Jeff] (1933–2004), artist and author, was born on 8 July 1933 at 8 York Street, Clitheroe, Lancashire, the son of Kenneth Nuttall, schoolteacher, and his wife, Hilda Mary, née Addison. His younger brother, Anthony David (Tony) Nuttall (1937–2007), became a distinguished Shakespearian scholar. He grew up near the Welsh border, in ...

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Russell, Henry (1812?–1900), song writer and entertainer, was probably born on 24 December 1812 (Jewish Chronicle), though his age in the 1891 census was given as seventy-six. He was born at Sheerness, Kent, one of several sons of Moses Russell (1762/3–1857)...

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Secombe, Sir Harry Donald (1921–2001), entertainer, was born in Swansea on 8 September 1921, the younger son and third of four children of Frederick Ernest Secombe, a commercial traveller for the wholesale grocery firm Walters and Batchelors and an amateur cartoonist, and his wife, ...

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Stewart, Andrew [Andy] (1933–1993), singer and entertainer, was born on 30 December 1933 at Redlands Maternity Home, Great Western Road, Glasgow, the only son and second child of Andrew Stewart (1901–1966), schoolmaster, and his wife, Alice Thompson (1903–1984). His parents were both Scottish. His education, which began at ...

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Turner, Joan Theresa (1922–2009), comic singer and impressionist, was born on 24 November 1922 at 2 Eglinton Street, Belfast, the daughter of Leonard Alfred Turner, a corporal in the British Army, and his wife, Helen Mary (Ellen), née Charlesson. At the time of her birth registration her parents lived at ...