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Peter Wilton Cushing (1913–1994) by Anthony Buckley, 1953 © Kenneth Hughes / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cushing, Peter Wilton (1913–1994), actor, was born at Normandy, Godstone Road, Kenley, Surrey, on 26 May 1913, the second son of George Edward Cushing (1881–1956), quantity surveyor, and his wife, Nellie Maria, née King (1880–1961). His grandfather Henry Cushing had been a member of ...

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Leslie Dawson (1931–1993) by R. Poplowski, 1973 Getty Images – R. Poplowski

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Dawson, Leslie [Les] (1931–1993), comedian, was born on 2 February 1931 in Thornton Street, Collyhurst, Manchester, the only child of Leslie Dawson (1905–1970), bricklayer, and his wife, Julia (c.1914–1957), daughter of David and Ellen Nolan. A small, chubby, solitary child, he grew up in some poverty in a ...

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Doll [née Rickett], Josephine [Jo] [performing name Jo Douglas] (1926–1988), actress and television producer, was born at 146 The Green, Earlsheaton, near Huddersfield, on 6 October 1926, the eldest of the three children of Bernard Rickett (1899–1985), a manager for Fyffes banana company...

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Diana Dors (1931–1984) by Frank Buckingham?, 1955 Associated British-Pathe Ltd (courtesy Kobal)

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Dors [married names Hamilton, Dawson, Lake], Diana [real name Diana Mary Fluck] (1931–1984), actress, was born on 23 October 1931 in Swindon, Wiltshire, the only child of Albert Edward Sidney Fluck (1893–1963) of Swindon, a railway clerk and former army captain, and his wife, ...

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Denholm Mitchell Elliott (1922–1992) by Anthony Buckley, 1956 © Kenneth Hughes / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Elliott, Denholm Mitchell (1922–1992), actor, was born on 31 May 1922 at 48 Lexham Gardens, Kensington, London, the second son of Myles Layman Farr Elliott (d. 1933), barrister, and his wife, Nina, née Mitchell (d. 1966), the daughter of an Ayrshire...

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John Edward Hawkins (1910–1973) by Anthony Buckley, 1968 © Kenneth Hughes / National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Leslie Scott Falconer Mitchell (1905–1985) by Baron Studios, 1951 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mitchell, Leslie Scott Falconer (1905–1985), actor and television broadcaster, was born on 4 October 1905 in Edinburgh, the only child of Charles Eric Mitchell (1881–1947), caterer, of Edinburgh, and his wife, Leslie Florence Whittington (1884–1956), née Lowe. He had a clouded childhood. His parents separated. His beautiful but wayward mother (whose three marriages were all to end unhappily and who twice attempted suicide) went on a holiday to the ...

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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