(b. York, 6 March 1921; d. London, 19 April 1992) Stand-up comedian. His act, ludicrous gossip admixed with ‘accidental’ innuendoes feeding off audience rapport, began with variety and pantomime, extended to radio and television shows, and was adapted to ‘legitimate’ theatre and cinema. In a fluctuating career, theatre highspots include his own shows in the late 1940s; the long-running revue Pardon My French (1953); a brilliant revival of Charley's Aunt (1955); the critically acclaimed Bottom in the Old Vic's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1957); and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1963). Prior to his death he enjoyed a return to favour with the young, for whom he was a legend revived. His autobiography, On the Way I Lost It, appeared in 1976.
From The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre in Oxford Reference.