Denis Compton

(1918—1997) cricketer and footballer

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An English professional cricketer who combined an entertaining style and improvisational approach with consistent achievement with the bat. Compton was also an accomplished bowler, and played football at the highest level for the London club Arsenal. In 1950, on returning from a tour of South Africa where in one innings he scored a triple century, he played in Arsenal's winning (soccer) side in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, so embodying the all-round qualities of the amateur ideal as well as the application of the professional. His glamorous image also appealed to an English public rooted in post-World War II austerity. Known as the ‘Brylcreem Boy’ through his lucrative contract with the hair-oil company, he could effortlessly switch from cricket flannels to formal evening attire and dance with film star Anna Neagle at high-profile social events. Compton's image and style made him a pioneer of sporting celebrity in the second half of the twentieth century.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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