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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 September 1921Swansea, Wales, UK
Date of Death 11 April 2001Guildford, Surrey, England, UK  (prostate cancer)
Birth NameHarry Donald Secombe
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Harry Secombe was one of Britain's best loved comic entertainers. Born in Swansea, South Wales he began singing as a child in local church choirs. His first job was as a clerk although he had considered a career in opera. During World War Two he served in the Army in North Africa and Italy. He met the comedian Spike Milligan while on duty in the Western desert and their common bond was a unique brand of humour. Secombe appeared in many troop concerts where he was known for his trademark high pitched laugh and blowing raspberries. After the war he appeared as a comic at London's famous Windmill Theatre and in 1945 became one of the stalwarts of the hugely successful radio series Educating Archie. His greatest popularity began in 1951 with the birth of radio's Crazy People, later to be renamed The Goon Show. One of the most famous radio comedy programmes of all time it helped launch the careers of Secombe, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine.

Whilst the Goon Show was in its prime the comedy team made several films associated with the series including Down Among the Z Men (1952) and in 1955 Secombe had his own TV show, The Harry Secombe Show. His other popular TV shows, often written by Marty Feldman and Barry Cryer, included Secombe and Friends (1966) and Have a Harry Christmas (1977). On stage he had a long running success with Leslie Bricusse's Pickwick (1963) and he revived the show in the 1980s.

His most notable film work began with Davy (1957) in which he played a music hall performer who auditions for an opera at Convent Garden. It was meant as a star vehicle for him but was not a box office success. International audiences became familiar with him when he played Mr Bumble, the beadle in Oliver! (1968) and films such as The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971) and Starstruck (1972).

Knighted in 1981 and much slimmed down after a serious attack of peritonitis, he continued to appear in concerts and on television as well as writing several volumes of autobiography. He toured Australia and in 1983 became the host of Highway, a weekly TV religious programme. This was Secombe toned down, far from his rollicking past and with no jokes, but it gave him a chance to sing seriously. The show ran for nearly ten years.

Ill health continually dogged the comedian in his final years and he battled with cancer and a severe stroke. He continued to appear on television, notably narrating D Day - The Official Story (1994) and presenting Top Ten Comedy Records (2000).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Patrick Newley

Spouse (1)

Myra Atherton (9 February 1948 - 11 April 2001) (his death) (4 children)

Trivia (12)

He was created a Knight Bachelor in the 1981 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to entertainment and charity.
Harry Secombe was a member of the Goons of the popular BBC radio program of the 1950s, "The Goon Show".
Harry and his wife Myra had four children, Andy Secombe, Katy Secombe, Jenny Giannini and David Secombe. Their seven grandchildren included Jennifer's daughter Emily Secombe and David's daughter Florence Secombe.
His son Andy Secombe is an actor.
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1963 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama.
Tenor singer and comedian
Was nominated for Broadway's 1966 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for "Pickwick."
Suffered a stroke in 1997, and another in 1999.
Godfather of Wendy Craig's older son, Alaster Bentley.
A memorial service was held for him at Westminster Abbey on 26 October 2001.
Uncle of Christine Secombe.

Personal Quotes (1)

You can't rest on your laurels, they turn into wreaths.

See also

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