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Charles Hawtrey Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (28)  | Personal Quotes (2)  | Salary (22)

Overview (5)

Born in Hounslow, Middlesex, England, UK
Died in Walmer, Kent, England, UK  (cardiovascular illness)
Birth NameGeorge Frederick Joffe Hartree
Nickname Charlie
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Coming from a theatrical family (although not related to the famous Edwardian actor Sir Charles Hawtrey, he did "borrow" his last name), Charles Hawtrey made his stage debut at age 11 after having spent several years in a prestigious acting school. A string of stage roles followed, and by 1929 his success led him to move into radio. His success in that medium led to his entry into films, often working alongside noted comedian Will Hay. He continued his stage, radio and film work, although he scored more success on stage.

In 1958 he began work in the series for which he would achieve his greatest fame, the "Carry On" comedies. His stringy build, birdlike features, what has been described as his "outrageously posh" voice and his somewhat fey character's eccentricities made him one of the most popular of the "Carry On" gang. However, that very popularity indirectly led to his exit from the series. He believed that his character's prominence, and the fact that he had more experience in the business than most of his co-stars, entitled him to receive a higher billing in the series than he was getting. The producers didn't see it that way, and after Carry on Abroad (1972), he departed the series. Hawtrey was, by most accounts, almost as eccentric in real life as his character in the "Carry On" series was; one of his characteristics was to speak in an unintelligible language of his own making, which was only understood by a few of his closest friends. After he left the series he semi-retired from the business, making an occasional appearance in a movie or TV show. He had suffered from arthritis for a long time, and by 1988 his doctors told him that the condition had become so serious that his legs would have to be amputated in order to save his life. He refused, and died almost a month later. He was 73.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Trade Mark (2)

Wire frame "National Health" glasses
Catchphrase - "Oh hello!"

Trivia (28)

His name had, in fact been borrowed from the celebrated Edwardian actor-manager Sir Charles Hawtrey, who died in 1923, a couple of years before the young Hawtrey (nee Hartree) began his career as a boy soprano.
His recreations included playing the piano and collecting antiques.
He was unmarried.
He lived in an old smuggler's cottage near the seafront at Deal, from which he was rescued during a fire in 1984.
In 1957 he appeared in the popular TV comedy series The Army Game (1957) as one of the scruffy lead-swinging squaddies stationed at the forgotten transit camp of Nether Hopping.
He claimed the he came from a theatrical family and that his father was the Edwardian actor Charles Hawtrey. His father was actually a motor mechanic in Hounslow.
A fan of the "Carry On" series in which Hawtrey starred, John Lennon introduces the song "Two of Us" by saying, "I dig a Pygmy by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids . . . Phase One in which Doris gets her oats," on The Beatles "Let It Be" album.
His face is the cover of "The Very Best of The Smiths" compilation album (released 2001). Lead singer Morrissey was a big fan and wrote an obituary for him in NME.
Along with Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, and Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques he became one of the longest serving Carry On stars, appearing in 23 of the films.
In a dispute with producer Peter Rogers over star billing for Carry on Christmas: Carry on Stuffing (1972) he did not appear in subsequent Carry On movies and went into semi-retirement. There were also concerns about his heavy drinking throughout the filming of Carry on Abroad (1972).
His first Carry On film was Carry On Sergeant (1958) and his last was Carry on Abroad (1972).
Had a very unusual acting style, where he would often deliver his lines directly to the camera. This is obvious throughout many of the "Carry On..." films and was encouraged by director Gerald Thomas. His acting style, laugh and spectacles became instantly recognizable trademarks.
Kenneth Williams recorded a visit to Deal in Kent where Hawtrey owned a house full of old brass bedsteads that the eccentric actor had hoarded, believing that "one day he would make a great deal of money from them".
He was supposed to play Wilfred Haines in Carry on Cruising (1962), but demanded more money, higher billing and a star on his dressing room door before he would agree to do so. Producer Peter Rogers called his bluff and replaced him with Lance Percival.
Was fired from the Carry On series after Carry on Abroad (1972) when his alcoholism, which had worsened since Carry on Cowboy (1965), became too much to deal with.
Was supposed to play Cecil Gaybody in Carry on Girls (1973), but he had already been fired from the series.
On Carry on Regardless (1961) he allegedly demanded a pay raise and better promotion of his character because he was a "popular comedian" who deserved it. He was ignored by director Gerald Thomas, who pointed out that his character was no different than any of the other characters that were part of the six unemployed characters.
Hit the headlines after his house caught fire on 5 August 1984. He had gone to bed with a much younger man and had left a cigarette burning on his sofa. When the fire brigade arrived, he insisted on being rescued by the biggest fireman. Newspaper photographs from the time show a fireman carrying an emotional, partially clothed and toupee-less Hawtrey down a ladder to safety.
Immortalized by the Beatles in the spoken intro to the song "Two of Us" as follows: "'I Dig a Pygmy', by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids... Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats!".
Made his stage debut in 1925 as a street urchin in 'The Windmill Man' at Boscombe. Theatre in Bournemouth.
His first London roles were the White Cat and the Boot Black in 'Bluebell in Fairyland', 'Where the Rainbow Ends' and' Peter Pan'.
Prior to the Carry on's he was best remembered as the elderly schoolboy in the Will Hay comedies 'Good Morning Boys (19370 and 'The Goose Steps Out' (1942).
He made several records as a boy soprano.
Spent 3 years at the Italia Conti acting school.
He made his film debut in the 1930 silent film 'Marry Me'.
He was a keen musician being a brilliant pianist and had natural ear for a melody although he never learned to read music. During the war he was a semi professional pianist for the forces and played in several films.
Made a short film 'Kiddies on Parade' in 1935.
As 'Master Charles Hawtrey - the Angel Faced Choir Boy' he recorded on the Columbia and Regal Record labels.

Personal Quotes (2)

[in reference to the Carry On films] Those films haven't made me rich but they've given me a world wide identity.
[in 1984, speaking about Carry On Sergeant (1958) and his salary on the Carry On films] We worked for bread money. Nobody would take them, I was in the first one, Carry On Sergeant (1958), it was an idea of Peter Rogers, who is quite a clever fella. He didn't write it, but he had the idea. So he hawked it around and nobody would take it. He eventually went to two gentlemen at Anglo Amalgamated, and what happened--they made a fortune.

Salary (22)

Carry On Sergeant (1958) £1,000
Carry on Teacher (1959) £900
Carry on, Constable (1960) £1,100
Carry on Regardless (1961) £2,500
Carry On Jack (1963) £3,000
Carry on Cabby (1963) £3,000
Carry on Spying (1964) £3,000
Carry on Cleo (1964) £4,000
Carry on Cowboy (1965) £3,000
Carry on Screaming! (1966) £400
Don't Lose Your Head (1967) £4,500
Follow That Camel (1967) £4,000
Carry on Doctor (1967) £1,500
Carry On... Up the Khyber (1968) £3,500
Carry on Camping (1969) £3,500
Carry on Again Doctor (1969) £3,500
Carry on Up the Jungle (1970) £3,000
Carry on Loving (1970) £3,000
Carry on Henry (1971) £3,000
Carry on at Your Convenience (1971) £3,000
Carry on Matron (1972) £2,500
Carry on Abroad (1972) £3,000

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