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Benny Hill Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 21 January 1924Southampton, Hampshire, England, UK
Date of Death 20 April 1992Teddington, Middlesex, England, UK  (heart attack)
Birth NameAlfred Hawthorne Hill
Nickname King Leer
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

He was born Alfred Hawthorn Hill. It was his grandfather who introduced him to Burlesque Shows and the theatre from where the young Benny Hill was to draw much of his comic inspiration. After his national service with the army during WW2, Benny came to London, adopted the stage name Benny Hill (in homage to his all time favourite comedian Jack Benny) and began appearing in variety shows. He briefly formed a double act with Reg Varney and did radio shows. But it was his talent for impressions and comic timing that were to give him his first big break on TV with the show "Hi There" in 1949. The Benny Hill Show (1955) began in 1955. Its pioneering combination of cheeky humour, songs and impressions were to make it a hit for the next 40 years.

Benny also broadened his career with cameo appearances in films such as The Italian Job (1969), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes (1965). He also had a hit record in 1971 with "Ernie The Fastest Milkman In The West". In 1979 The Benny Hill Show (1955) was shown in America for the first time and Benny went on to become one of the biggest stars on US TV. The show itself has been seen in 109 countries and won a BAFTA as well as Golden Rose Of Montreaux Award. Benny Hill's TV career came to an end in 1989, when his show was dropped, but his popularity continued and he completed a US TV special, Benny Hill's World Tour: New York! (1991) shortly before his death in 1992.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Al Crow <IMDB@crow.atlanta.ga.us>

Trade Mark (3)

Expert in featuring in fast moving, mute comic short subjects, with funny music, and massive persecutions at the end.
Parody of British Army salute.
His inimitable smirk in close-up looking directly into the camera

Trivia (23)

Comedian.
Was one of only a handful of TV comedians (the others being Milton Berle and Jackie Gleason) who had control over the circumstances of production of their respective TV shows.
Died in his favorite chair while watching television.
At the time of his death, a large box was found in his apartment. The many awards and honours he had earned throughout his career had been placed in the box as if they were unimportant to him.
Despite his wealth and success, he never owned a car, did his own shopping, lived in a two room apartment, but never used the second floor. According to one of his obituaries, he once refused to repair the leaky roof in his mother's home because it was "too expensive".
After complaints that his television comedy sketches were too sexual, he began casting children to appear on his shows. But instead of hiring professional child actors, he hired the children of the television crew, stating that their laughing to his sight gags were genuine.
When Hill died in April 1992, his estate was worth an estimated £10 million. The only will Hill created left his estate to his parents, who had died years before. Next in line were his brother and sister, neither of whom he had a close relationship with, but like his parents are also dead. As a result, Hill's estate was divided among his seven nieces and nephews.
His father and uncle were circus clowns, performing in the circus until they both left for military service during WWI.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 216-217. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.
Related to Holly Valance. His cousin is her grandfather.
Born on the same day as Telly Savalas, whose Kojak (1973) character he impersonated on his 1969-1989 Thames TV show.
Was born on the same day that V.I. Lenin died.
He was the star of Genesis' music video for "Anything She Does" in 1986 (from the "Invisible Touch" album). It was the band's idea to cast him. He played his "Fred Scuttle" character, who is the new head of backstage security. Needless to say his incompetence - due mainly to his wandering eye for the ladies (including Page 3 Model Linda Lusardi) - lets all manner of people into the band's dressing room. The video used many of Benny's trademark gags (smoke out of the ears, speed-ed up film..) and a separate, customized, version was shot to use as the opening to the group's world tour.
Died of a heart attack while sitting in front of his television inside his apartment. He was found by a producer friend of his who had to climb through a window to let police in. Benny was in his pajamas (what he normally wore around his home). Sitting next to him on a small stand was an unsigned contract which Benny was considering to begin a new series with his friend.
Appeared on the cover of TV Times for the week that ITV started broadcasting in colour.
His simple but ingenious film-tricks are copied by many, for example "Austin Powers".
After one of their stars died in 1966 (Arthur Haynes), ATV, a rival company to the BBC, tried to re-snatch Benny, but the liaison was short lived when he discovered he would be required to do other things (rather than just his comedy show), such as presenting other programmes. ATV contracts were reputedly just word of mouth and a handshake so it was easy for him to return to the BBC.
Spoke fluent French and also spoke some Italian, German, and Dutch.
Never married nor had any children.
Buried in Hollybrook Cemetary, Shirley, Southampton.
Had a brother, Leonard.
Before entering show business he was a milkman in Eastleigh, Southampton.
He'd been dead for two days before he was found.

Personal Quotes (11)

[When asked to comment on rumours that he had sexual affairs with women who appeared on his shows]: I never yell, I never tell, but I'm grateful as hell.
Girls are like pianos. When they're not upright, they're grand.
Girls are like buses: If you miss one, don't worry - another one will be along in a few minutes. And at night there aren't as many, but they're faster.
Why get married? That's like burning down the house just to have a bit of toast. And why should I buy a book when there's such a good library in town!
That's what show business is, sincere insincerity.
I thought I couldn't afford to take her out and smoke as well. So I gave up cigarettes. Then I took her out and one day I looked at her and thought: 'Oh well,' and I went back to smoking again, and that was better.
The odds against there being a bomb on a plane are a million to one, and against two bombs a million times a million to one. Next time you fly, cut the odds and take a bomb.
Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect.
Do unto others, then run.
I'm not against half naked girls - not as often as I'd like to be.
Those hot pants of hers were so damned tight, I could hardly breathe.

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