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Frankie Howerd

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Frankie Howerd OBE (born Francis Alick Howard, 6 March 1917 – 18 April 1992), was an English comedian and comic actor whose career, described by Barry Cryer as ‘a series of comebacks’, spanned six decades.

Biography

Howerd was born the son of a soldier, Francis A. W. Howard, in York, North Yorkshire, England, in 1917 (not 1922 as he later claimed). He was educated at Shooters Hill Grammar School in Woolwich, London. [1] His first appearance on stage was at age 13 but his early hopes of becoming a serious actor were dashed when he failed an audition for RADA. He got into entertaining during World War II service in the army. Despite suffering from stage fright he continued to work after the war, beginning his professional career in the summer of 1946 in a touring show called For the Fun of It.

He soon started working in radio, making his debut at the start of December 1946 on the BBC Variety Bandbox programme with a number of other ex-servicemen. His fame built steadily throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s (aided by material written by Eric Sykes, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson and Johnny Speight). In 1954, he made his screen début opposite Petula Clark in The Runaway Bus, which had been written for his specific comic talents, but he never became a major film presence. The film was so low-budget that they could not afford scenery, background and such; instead they used a fog generator so that little was visible behind the action. The film was an immediate hit.

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