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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 ...

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Michael Bentine (1922–1996) by unknown photographer, 1992 Rex Features

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Bentine [formerly Bentin], Michael (1922–1996), comedian, was born on 26 January 1922, in Watford, Hertfordshire, the second of two sons of Adan (later Adam) Bentin, aeronautical engineer, and his wife, Florence (d. 1949), daughter of James Dawkins, a Southend Water Board...

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Brambell, (Henry) Wilfrid (1912–1985), actor, was born on 22 March 1912 at 6 Edenvale Road, Rathgar, co. Dublin, one of at least two sons of Henry Lytton Brambell, a cashier at the Guinness brewery, and his wife, Edith Marks (b. c.1879)...

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(Henry) Wilfrid Brambell (1912–1985) by Vivienne, 1960s © Vivienne; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Briers, Richard David (1934–2013), actor, was born on 14 January 1934 at the Nelson Hospital in Merton, south London, the elder child (his sister, Jane, was born in 1939) of Joseph Benjamin Briers (1901–1980), a 'commission agent' or bookmaker, and Morna Phyllis Richardson (1909–1992)...

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Richard David Briers (1934–2013) by David Corio, 1985 © David Corio

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Burke, Patricia Rosa Moore (1916–2003), actress, was born at via Castelmorone 5, Milan, Italy, on 23 March 1916, the daughter of an operatic tenor known as ‘the Lancashire Caruso’, Thomas Aspinall Burke (1890–1969), and his wife, Marie Rosa, née Holt, formerly Altfuldisch, the actress ...

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(Verner) Duncan Carse (1913–2004) by Howard Coster, 1955 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Carse, (Verner) Duncan (1913–2004), polar explorer and broadcaster, was born on 28 July 1913 at 35 Castletown Road, Fulham, London, the son of (Andreas) Duncan Carse, artist, and his wife, Florence Marion, née Soames. He was originally named Werner Duncan but this was soon changed to ...

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Chapman, Graham (1941–1989), comedian and writer, was born on 8 January 1941 at the Stoneygate Nursing Home, Stoneygate, Leicester, the second son of Walter Chapman, policeman, and his wife, Edith Towers. He was educated at several Leicestershire schools, including Melton Mowbray grammar school...

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Clitheroe, James Robinson [Jimmy] (1921–1973), comedian, was born on 24 December 1921 at 58 Wilkin Street, Clitheroe, Lancashire, the son of James Robert Clitheroe, cotton weaver, and Emma, née Pye (d. 1973). He was brought up and went to school in the nearby village of ...

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Connor, Edric Esclus (1913–1968), actor and singer, was born on 2 August 1913 in the village of Mayaro, Trinidad, the son of Edwin Connor, shoemaker and small farmer. At sixteen he won a scholarship from the Trinidad government railway to study engineering at the ...

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Edric Esclus Connor (1913–1968) by unknown photographer collection of Stephen Bourne

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Constanduros [née Tilling], Mabel (1880–1957), comedienne and writer, was born on 29 March 1880 at Devonshire House, Peckham Road, Camberwell, London, one of the seven children of Richard Stephen Tilling, managing director of the Thomas Tilling & Son bus company, and his wife, ...

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Alan Coren (1938–2007) by Terry O'Neill, 1990 Getty Images

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Coren, Alan (1938–2007), humorous writer, was born on 27 June 1938 at 2 Queensdown Road, Hackney, London, the son of Samuel Coren, builder and plumber, and his wife, Martha, née Coren, hairdresser. At the time of his birth registration his parents lived at ...

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Simon Dee (1935–2009) by Bruce Fleming, 1964 © Getty Images

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Dee, Simon [real name Cyril Nicholas Henty-Dodd] (1935–2009), broadcaster, was born Cyril Nicholas Dodd at 28 Palatine Road, Withington, Didsbury, near Manchester, on 28 July 1935, the son of Cyril Edwin Dodd (1906–1980), book cloth manufacturer, and his wife, Gwendoline (Gwen), née...

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Denham, (William) Maurice (1909–2002), actor, was born on 23 December 1909 at 29 Albemarle Road, Beckenham, Kent, the son of Norman Denham, dentist, and his wife, (Eleanor) Winifred, née Lillico. He was educated at the Abbey School, where he made his stage début at the age of five as the Spirit of 1917, and at ...