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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 ...

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

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

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

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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 ...

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

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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....

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

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Pélissier, Harry Gabriel (1874–1913), comedian, composer, and producer, was born at Elm House, Church End, Finchley, Middlesex, on 27 April 1874, the second son of Frederic Antoine Pélissier (d. 1914), a French diamond merchant, and his wife, Jennie, née Kean. In 1894, after an unhappy six months in the family business in ...

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Robey, Sir George [real name George Edward Wade] (1869–1954), comedian, was born on 20 September 1869 at 334 Kennington Road, London, the elder of two sons of George Wade, civil engineer, and his wife, Elizabeth Mary Keene. He also had two sisters. His father often worked on tramway installations which took him and his family to the provinces and abroad, with the result that ...

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Sir George Robey (1869–1954) by unknown photographer V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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See Whaley, Edward Peter [Eddie]