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Allen, William Ernest (Chesney) (1894–1982), comedian and singer  

David Goldie

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 ...

Article

Chevalier, Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis (1861–1923), comedian and actor  

Simon Featherstone

Chevalier, Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis (1861–1923), comedian and actor, was born on 21 March 1861 at 21 St Ann's Villas, Royal Crescent, Notting Hill, London, the eldest son of Jean Onésime Chevalier, language teacher, and his wife, Ellen Louisa Mathews; his name at birth was registered simply as ...

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Cover Chevalier, Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis (1861–1923)

Chevalier, Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis (1861–1923)  

Maker: B. Knight

Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis Chevalier (1861–1923) by B. Knight [Mafekin' Night] © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Cowell, Samuel Houghton (1820–1864), actor and comic singer  

J. W. Ebsworth

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Cowell, Samuel Houghton (1820–1864), actor and comic singer, the son of Joseph Cowell and his first wife, Maria Murray, was born in London on 5 April 1820. He was taken by his father to America in 1822, and educated in a military academy at ...

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Cover Cutler, Ivor (1923–2006)

Cutler, Ivor (1923–2006)  

Maker: Angela Deane-Drummond

In 

Ivor Cutler (1923–2006) by Angela Deane-Drummond, 1974 Getty Images

Article

Cutler, Ivor (1923–2006), humorist and singer  

Mark Espiner

Cutler, Ivor (1923–2006), humorist and singer, was born Isadore Cutler on 15 January 1923 at 3 Ralston Drive, Govan, Glasgow, the second son and third of five children of Jack Morris Cutler, draper and jeweller, and his wife, Paulina (Polly), née Goldberg. Both his parents were Jewish, and had arrived in ...

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Cover Dodd, Sir Kenneth Arthur (Ken) (1927–2018)

Dodd, Sir Kenneth Arthur (Ken) (1927–2018)  

Maker: David Cobley

In 

Sir Ken Dodd (1927–2018), by David Cobley, 2004

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Dodd, Sir Kenneth Arthur (Ken) (1927–2018), comedian and singer  

Michael Billington

Dodd, Sir Kenneth Arthur [Ken] (1927–2018), comedian and singer, was born at Liverpool Maternity Hospital on 8 November 1927, the younger son and second of three children of Arthur Dodd (1896–1979), a coal merchant who also worked as a saxophonist in a theatre orchestra, and his wife ...

Article

Flanagan, Bud [real name Chaim Reuben Weintrop] (1896–1968), comedian and singer  

Sid Colin

revised by David Goldie

Flanagan, Bud [real name Chaim Reuben Weintrop] (1896–1968), comedian and singer, was born on 14 November 1896 in Hanbury Street, London, the fifth son and the youngest of the ten children of Polish immigrants, Wolf Weintrop, the owner of a barber's shop and tobacconist's in ...

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Cover Flanagan, Bud (1896–1968)

Flanagan, Bud (1896–1968)  

Maker: Houston Rogers

In 

Bud Flanagan (1896–1968) by Houston Rogers, 1950 [in Knights of Madness by Ross Parker] V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Article

Fletcher, Cyril Trevellian (1913–2005), comedian and impresario actress, singer, and scriptwriter  

Michael Pointon

Fletcher, Cyril Trevellian (1913–2005), comedian and impresario, was born on 25 June 1913 at Dunoon, Hagden Lane, Watford, Hertfordshire, the only son and younger child of George Trevellian Fletcher, deputy town clerk of Watford, and his wife, Maude Mary, née Ginger. Both parents were keen on amateur dramatics. He attended a preparatory school in ...

Article

Graves, George Windsor (1873–1949), comedian  

W. J. Macqueen-Pope

revised

Graves, George Windsor (1873–1949), comedian, was born at 13 Mare Street, Hackney, London, on 2 January 1873, the youngest child of Thomas Graves, a publican, and his second wife, Martha Alice, daughter of John Mulvey, a compositor. From early childhood it was his desire to be an actor although he had no theatrical ancestry. He left ...

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Cover Handley, Thomas Reginald [Tommy] (1892–1949)

Handley, Thomas Reginald [Tommy] (1892–1949)  

Maker: unknown photographer

Thomas Reginald Handley (1892–1949) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Handley, Thomas Reginald [Tommy] (1892–1949), comedian  

Barry Took

Handley, Thomas Reginald [Tommy] (1892–1949), comedian, was born on 17 January 1892 at 13 Threlfall Street, Toxteth Park, Liverpool, the son of John Handley, a cow keeper, and his wife, Sarah Ann Pearson. Tommy Handley's father, who probably ran a dairy business, died while ...

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Cover Hoffnung, Gerard (1925–1959)

Hoffnung, Gerard (1925–1959)  

Maker: Peter Keen

Gerard Hoffnung (1925–1959) by Peter Keen, late 1950s © Peter Keen; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Hoffnung, Gerard [formerly Gerhardt] (1925–1959), cartoonist and musical humorist  

Richard Ingrams

revised

Hoffnung, Gerard [formerly Gerhardt] (1925–1959), cartoonist and musical humorist, was born in Grünewald, Berlin, on 22 March 1925, the only child of German-Jewish parents, Ludwig Hoffnung, a wealthy grain merchant, and his wife, Hilde, a widow, whose first husband, Schnabel, was killed in the First World War. His mother was a keen amateur musician and artist who encouraged his artistic talents. From his earliest years he was interested in the macabre—fairy tales, practical jokes, and the comic drawings of the famous German illustrators and caricaturists....

Article

Leno, Dan [real name George Wild Galvin] (1860–1904), comedian  

James Hogg

Leno, Dan [real name George Wild Galvin] (1860–1904), comedian, was born on 20 December 1860 at 6 Eve Place, London—not on the site of St Pancras Station, as often recounted, but just to the north. He was one of several children of ...

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Cover Moore, Dudley Stuart John (1935–2002)

Moore, Dudley Stuart John (1935–2002)  

Maker: by unknown photographer

In 

Dudley Stuart John Moore (1935–2002) by unknown photographer, 1987 Sipa Press / Rex Features

Article

Moore, Dudley Stuart John (1935–2002), actor, musician, and composer  

David Parkinson

Moore, Dudley Stuart John (1935–2002), actor, musician, and composer, was born on 19 April 1935 at Charing Cross Hospital, London, the son of John (Jock) Moore (born John Havlin; d. 1971), a Glaswegian engineer with the Stratford East Railway, and his wife, Ada Francis, ...

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Cover O’Connor, Desmond Bernard [Des] (1932–2020)

O’Connor, Desmond Bernard [Des] (1932–2020)  

Maker: David Redfern

In 

Desmond Bernard [Des] O’Connor (1932–2020), by David Redfern, 1960

Redferns/Getty Images