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Frankie Howerd (1917–1992) by Vincent Gillett © Vincent Gillet Photography; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Howerd, Frankie [real name Francis Alick Howard] (1917–1992), comedian, was born in York on 6 March 1917, the elder son and eldest of three children of Francis Alfred William Howard, soldier and tutor in the army education corps, and his wife, Edith Florence, ...

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Jimmy Jewel (1909–1995) by Wolfgang Suschitzky, 1981 © Wolfgang Suschitzky / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jewel, Jimmy [real name James Arthur Thomas Marsh] (1909–1995), comedian and actor, was born on 4 December 1909 at 52 Andover Street, Pittsmoor, Sheffield, the younger child of James Arthur Thomas Marsh (1881–1936), music-hall artist (under the name James A. Jewel) and designer and builder of stage scenery, and his wife, ...

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Marsden, Betty (1919–1998), actress and comedian, was born on 24 February 1919 at 12 Southall Street, Walton, Liverpool, the daughter of John Marsden, a bombardier in the Royal Garrison Artillery, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, née Atkinson. Her parents were too poor to raise her and when she was six she left home for ...

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Derek Robert Nimmo (1930–1999) by A. Harris, 1973 © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Nimmo, Derek Robert (1930–1999), actor, was born at 26 Springbourne Road, Liverpool, on 19 September 1930, the son of an insurance clerk, Henry Nimmo, and his wife, Marjorie Sudbury Hardy. He was educated at Quarry Bank School, Liverpool, where the enlightened headmaster, R. F. Bailey...

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Wilfred Pickles (1904–1978) by Lenare, 1949 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Pickles, Wilfred (1904–1978), actor and broadcaster, was born on 13 October 1904 at 24 Conway Street, Halifax, the second of the four sons of Frederick Pickles (1880–1954), stonemason and builder, and his wife, Margaret (1876–1962), daughter of William Catterall and his wife, Ellen...

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Speaight, Robert William (1904–1976), actor and literary scholar, was born on 14 January 1904 at the Corner Cottage, St Margaret's Bay, Kent, the eldest of three sons of Frederick William Speaight and his wife, Emily Isabella, daughter of Frederick Elliott. His father ran a ...