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On this day in history in 1890, was born Stanley Holloway.
Holloway was an actor and entertainer notable for his comic and character roles, and for his eccentric and outrageous monologues.
Stanley Augustus Holloway was born on 1st October 1890, at East Ham, London, the son of George Holloway, a law clerk, and his wife, Florence Bell, and was named after the explorer H M Stanley. He was educated at the Carpenters' Company School, where his success as a boy soprano in the school choir led him to contemplate a career as a singer. After leaving school, he took a job a clerk before obtaining a role in a concert party. In 1914, he went to Milan for voice training, but at the outbreak of the First World War, returned to enlist in the Connaught Rangers, seeing service in Ireland and France.
After the war, he served for a brief period as a constable, before joining a West End company as a baritone and utility performer. He developed a routine of comic monologues including a recital of his own invention, concerning a boy, Albert Ramsbottom, who met his doom at Blackpool Zoo, where he was swallowed by the lion. These stories became so popular that they became part of the British 1930ís folklore. Also in the 1930ís, he appeared in a series of budget film productions and during the war years appeared in several propaganda films. His film career culminated in his performance as Alfred Doolittle, the philosophical dustman, in My Fair Lady, an adaptation of George Bernard Shawís Pygmalion. He also performed in variety and musical comedy, and had some serious theatre appearances with the Old Vic, particularly as the gravedigger in Hamlet, and Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Holloway received the OBE in 1960, and published his autobiography, Wiv a Little Bit o'Luck, in 1967. He carried on performing until his eighties and died at Littlehampton, Sussex, on 30th January 1982. He was buried in the churchyard in East Preston, Sussex. [St Mary the Virgin Church, Vicarage Lane, East Preston, Littlehampton, West Sussex, BN16 2SP]
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