Stanley Holloway: Wikis

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Stanley Holloway
Born Stanley Augustus Holloway
1 October 1890(1890-10-01)
Manor Park, Essex, England
Died 30 January 1982 (aged 91)
Littlehampton, West Sussex, England
Occupation Actor, comedian, singer
Years active 1910–1980

Stanley Augustus Holloway, OBE (1 October 1890 – 30 January 1982) was a celebrated English stage and film actor, comedian and singer, famous for his comic and character roles on stage and screen, especially that of Alfred P Doolittle in My Fair Lady. He was also renowned for his recordings of comic monologues and songs, which spanned throughout his seventy-year career.

Contents

Early life

He was born at 25 Albany Road, Manor Park, Essex — now in the London Borough of Newham — and attended the Worshipful School of Carpenters in nearby Stratford.

His mother Florrie was a housekeeper and his father George was a lawyer's clerk. He had one sister called Millie.

His first job was as a junior clerk in a boot polish factory called "Everitts Nutta and Jetta" where he earned ten shillings a week. His second job was again as a clerk but this time at Billingsgate fish market. Whilst working there, he began his performing career as "Master Stanley Holloway -- The Wonderful Boy Soprano", from 1907. He began performing in end of pier concert parties at English east coast seaside resorts, including Walton-on-the-Naze and Clacton-on-Sea where he appeared for three years in Bert Graham and Will Bentley's concert party at the West Cliff Theatre in 1910.

In 1911 he was recruited by established comedian Leslie Henson to feature as a support in Henson’s own, more prestigious concert-party performing in "Nicely, Thanks".

He then planned a career as a singer in 1913 and went to Milan to train his voice, but realised that this wasn't for him and returned home. He then followed his heart and carried on in light entertainment.

In 1914 when World War I was in full swing, he enlisted in the Connaught Rangers infantry regiment. Upon joining he was immediately commissioned as a second lieutenant. This was because a few years earlier he had had some training as a private in the London Rifle Brigade.

Although an estimated 2,500 members of this regiment were killed during the Great War, Holloway survived and upon demobilisation took up singing and acting in London's music halls and theatres, performing at the Winter Garden as Captain Wentworth in Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse's Kissing Time in 1919, and as Rene in A Night Out in 1920.

After the war he joined the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1920 as a temporary constable but had left by the beginning of 1921.

After the war, he found his first big success in the show The Co-Optimists which ran for 500 performances from 27 June 1921 until 4 August 1927 and was then filmed in 1929.

An extremeley rare recording of this can be seen on the below link;

From 1929 he developed his comic song and monologue repertoire, which launched his recording career with records of his own created character, "Sam Small," and Marriott Edgar's "The Ramsbottoms". These records then went on to sell world wide.

Holloway established himself as a BBC radio personality in 1923 and developed his solo act throughout the 1920s while continuing his involvement with the musical theatre and The Co-Optimists. He was cast as Bill Smith in the London production of Vincent Youman's musical comedy Hit the Deck (1927), in Song of the Sea (1928), and in Coo-ee (1929). He began recording his monologues for the phonographic market in the early 1930s. Based on colourful "Northern England" characters named Albert and the Ramsbottoms (by George Marriott Edgar) and "Sam Small" (whom Holloway created), these remarkable recitations were couched in rhyming stanzas. Apart from speaking the monologues, Holloway would often sing the verses, carefully sticking to the words but always characterising them in his own special way. Other contributors who would write with Holloway included Greatrex Newman, R. P. Weston, and Bert Lee.

Holloway signed up to the Aza Agency in the Summer of 1935, having been introduced to them by Gracie Fields. Gracie was married to Archie Pitt, who was the brother of Bert Aza. Bert was married to Lilian Aza, who incidentally signed Holloway to their books and became Godmother to Julian Holloway, Stanley's son. He remained there throughout the rest of his career.

Notable films and performances

Holloway made his motion picture debut in 1921, appearing in a silent movie entitled The Rotters.

He spent the 1930s appearing in a series of cheaply made movies, but which included some notable work in Squibs (1935) and The Vicar of Bray (1937). He also recorded "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm", a ditty by R. P. Weston and Bert Lee about the ghost of Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London, seeking revenge on Henry VIII for having her beheaded.

His career changed again in 1941 when he played in a major film production of George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara. He then took patriotic, morale boosting, light comic roles in The Way Ahead (1944), This Happy Breed (1944) and The Way to the Stars (1945).

After World War Two he had notable roles in the smash hit Brief Encounter, and a cameo role as the grave digger in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet.

Holloway became a mainstay of the Ealing Comedies produced at Ealing Studios, making nine films with the studio in total. He started his association with the studio in 1934 first appearing in the fifth Gracie Fields vehicle Sing As We Go. After a ten year gap, he returned in Champagne Charlie (1944) and went on to make, Nicholas Nickleby (1947), Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948) - Ealing's first Technicolor film, Another Shore (1948) and classics like Passport to Pimlico (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953). His final film with the studios was Meet Mr. Lucifer in (1953).

Holloway repeated his hugely successful role as Alfred P. Doolittle in the screen version of My Fair Lady in (1964) which, by then, had become his signature role earning him an Academy Award Nomination — losing to Peter Ustinov for his role in the 1964 film Topkapi

North American career

Holloway went to the US early on in his career in 1913 to take part in a concert party called "The Grotesques". However, due to the outbreak of World War one he returned to join the Connaught Rangers.

Holloway signed a contract with The Old Vic and travelled to New York at the beginning of 1954 to appear as Bottom in the Shakespeare play Midsummer Nights Dream. It was there that he was spotted by talent scouts and approached for the part of Alfred. P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady which started two years later.

His film output had made him enough of a public name in the United States that in 1956 he was cast as Alfred P. Doolittle in the Broadway stage smash hit My Fair Lady, after James Cagney turned it down. He had a long association with the show, appearing in the original 1956 Broadway production, the 1958 London version, and the film version in 1964.

Due to his success on Broadway, Holloway was signed to play the part of Poobah in the comic opera The Mikado, alongside his friend Groucho Marx in 1960, which resulted in a huge success.

In 1962 he signed up to play the role of an English butler, called Higgins, in a pilot television sitcom called Our Man Higgins. Holloway enjoyed the role immensely but the viewers didn't. It managed one season and was scrapped due to poor figures.

In 1964 he again appeared on-stage in Philadelphia in Cool Off!, a Faustian spoof.

He returned to the US a few more times after that to take part in the Dean Martin show three times and the Red Skelton show twice. He also appeared in the 1965 film In Harms Way, alongside John Wayne and Kirk Douglas.

He was nominated for Broadway's 1957 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) in My Fair Lady.

Personal life

Holloway was married twice, first to Alice "Queenie" Foran in November 1913, whom he had met in Clacton-on-sea whilst performing in a variety show. A secret alcoholic, she died from alcohol consumption in 1937, brought about by the secret debt she had incurred whilst Holloway was abroad working. Holloway had four children from his first marriage, Joan (b 1914), Patricia (b 1920), John (b 1925), and Mary (b 1928).

Little is known about his children from his first marriage, although it is known that his youngest daughter Mary worked for British Petroleum and elder son John worked as an engineer in an electrics company.

His second marriage was on 2 January 1939 to Violet Marion Lane, who was a bit-part actress and understudy whom Holloway affectionately called "Laney". They had one son Julian Holloway (b 1944) who became an actor, best known for being in some of the Carry On films. Julian is now a successful voice actor in the US mainly in computer-generated imagery films of blockbuster status and best selling computer games for the Playstation and X Box consoles.

Holloway, Laney and Julian lived in a sprawling country house in the tiny village of Penn, Buckinghamshire. Holloway would also own a flat in St. John's Wood, North West London, for when he was working in the Capital, and a flat in New York during his My Fair Lady Broadway years.

Stanley Holloway was still performing well into his eighties touring Asia and Australia in 1977 with the "Pleasure of His Company", a Noël Coward tribute show, and made his last appearance performing at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in 1980 aged 89. He died of a stroke 18 months later at the Nightingale nursing home in Littlehampton, Sussex, on 30 January 1982, aged 91.

He is buried along with his wife Laney, at the St. Mary the Virgin Church in the beautiful old English village of East Preston, West Sussex.

Stanley Holloway's final resting place. Click on below link;

Miscellaneous

In 1960 Stanley Holloway became an officer of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Stanley Holloway was the paternal grandfather of the model and author Sophie Dahl.

There is a building named after him at 2 Coolfin Rd, Newham, London E16 called Stanley Holloway Court.

Holloway lived in four houses in total within the london bourough of Newham whilst growing up. However in July 2009 the first English Heritage blue plaque in his honour was erected at 25 Albany Road, Newham, the house where Holloway was born 119 years previously in 1890.

Issued by English Heritage and Newham Council

His favourite comedian was Frankie Howerd.

His acting roots in his family could be traced back to his great-uncle Charles Bernard in the mid 1800s, who was one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of his time.

Holloway himself was an effective performer of Shakespeare, playing the First Gravedigger in Laurence Olivier's film version of Hamlet in 1948 and transferring the role to the stage with John Gielgud in 1951.

Holloway's cousin Oliver Bernard was a scenic designer at Covent Garden in London.

His first daughter Joan was born on the same day, 1 October... 23 years later.

Of the films he made, his own personal favourites were Champagne Charlie and My Fair Lady.

Holloway regarded actors Leslie Henson, Gracie Fields, Maurice Chevalier, Groucho Marx, and Laurence Olivier as his closest friends.

He appeared with the distinguished actor Ivor Novello in the 1933 film Sleeping Car.

One of his greatest ambitions was to work with Charles Chaplin.

Holloway often appeared alongside The Crazy Gang and even acted as a temporary replacement for Bud Flanagan from time to time when Bud had to pull out for contractual reasons.

There is a memorial plaque dedicated to Holloway which is in St. Paul's, Covent Garden, London, which is also known as "The Actors Church". It is situated next to a memorial for Gracie Fields.

Memorials at St. Paul's, Covent Garden, below link;

He was almost not asked to repeat his stage performance as Alfred Dolittle in My Fair Lady (1964) because producer Jack L. Warner thought that Holloway was too old at 73, and not a big enough star. However, after James Cagney turned the part down, Holloway was cast.

In the 1934 film Sing as We Go, which Holloway made with Gracie Fields at the helm, there were two references made to Holloway's success with the then recently recited Monologues, "The Lion and Albert" and "Sam Pick Oop thy Musket". Near the beginning of the film, whilst on the way to Lime Street in Blackpool, she stops to ask for directions from a policeman - played by Holloway. When he says he doesn't know, Gracie responds by saying "Alright Sam, pick oop thy musket". The second reference is half way through the film. Upon arriving at a circus Gracie stops at a large cage occupied by a huge lion. "Hey! Where's young Albert" she asks. The lion lets out a big roar and descends to the back of the cage, leaving Gracie to run off in the direction of the circus.

In 1964 he was offered the role of Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins but turned it down as he was busy working on My Fair Lady. The part went to Reginald Owen.

He became friends with Bing Crosby after Crosby met Holloway at the MGM studios. Crosby, who was driving around the studio grounds in a golf cart, stopped and told Holloway how much he had liked him in the Broadway production My Fair Lady and went on to ask if he could have his autograph for each of his sons. Holloway was immensely flattered as he had admired Crosby for years and thought he was one of the greatest singers around, so naturally obliged. Holloway then invited the Crosby family to, once again, come and see the show on Broadway, and gave him tickets. After this they became good friends and Holloway was introduced to Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin by Crosby. Holloway would then go on to sing with Sinatra at the Hollywood Bowl and would regularly appear with Dean Martin on his American T.V show.

He was in the same Connaught Regiment as Victoria Cross winner Micheal O 'Leary.

Holloway appeared with Rex Harrison in the stage production of My Fair Lady. Harrison had a reputation for being very abrupt with his fans. One night after a performance of the show, Holloway and Harrison left by the stage door. It was late, cold and pouring rain and there was an old woman standing alone outside the door. When she saw Harrison, she asked him for his autograph. He told her to "sod off", and she was so enraged at this that she rolled up her program and hit Harrison with it. Holloway congratulated him on not only making theatre history, but, for the first time in world history, "the fan has hit the shit."

The lion's name in the famous monologue "The Lion and Albert" was Wallace, which was written by Marriott Edgar for Holloway. It was named after Edgar's half brother Edgar Wallace who was a famous crime writer and playwright in the early 20th century.

In the 1965 film In Harms Way Holloway starred opposite the American actress Patricia Neal. Twelve years later Neal's daughter Tessa Dahl and Holloway's son Julian would have a daughter model and author Sophie Dahl.

Died the same year, 1982, as other Music Hall greats Arthur Askey, Chesney Allen, and Sandy Powell.

Musical theatre credits

Stanley Holloway appeared in the following Musical theatre productions:-

Film and TV appearances

Monologues and music

  • "Sam, Sam, Pick oop thy Musket" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1927)
  • "Sometimes I'm Happy (Sometimes I'm Blue)" by Vincent Yeomans – performed by Stanley Holloway for the musical Hit the Deck (1927)
  • "Join the Navy" – performed by Stanley Holloway for the musical Hit the Deck (1927)
  • "Song of the Sea" – performed by Stanley Holloway for the musical Song of the Sea (1928)
  • "Old Sam" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1929)
  • "'Alt! Who Goes There?" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1930)
  • "Beat the Retreat on thy Drum" – written by Weston and Lee, performed by Stanley Holloway (1931)
  • "One Each Apiece All Round" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1931)
  • "The Lion and Albert" – written by Marriott Edgar performed by Stanley Holloway with (1932)
  • "Hi-De-Hi" – performed by Stanley Holloway (1932)
  • "Three Ha'pence a Foot" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1932)
  • "Sam's Medal" – written by Mabel Constanduros and Michael Hogan, performed by Stanley Holloway (1933)
  • "Old Sam's Party" – written by Mabel Constanduros, performed by Stanley Holloway (1933)
  • "Careless Talk" – with Leslie Henson and Stanley Holloway (1933)
  • "Runcorn Ferry" – written by Marrott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1933)
  • "Many Happy Returns" – written by Archie de Bear, performed by Stanley Holloway (1933)
  • "Gunner Joe" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1933)
  • "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm" – written by Weston and Lee, performed by Stanley Holloway (1934)
  • "Marksman Sam" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1934)
  • "Signalman Sam" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1934)
  • "The Return of Albert" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1934)
  • "The Beefeater" – written by Weston and Lee, performed by Stanley Holloway (1934)
  • "Sam Drummed Out" – written by Weston and Lee, performed by Stanley Holloway (1935)
  • "Sam's Sturgeon" – written by Ashley Sterne, performed by Stanley Holloway (1935)
  • "Sam Small at Westminster" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1935)
  • "St George and the Dragon" – written by Weston and Lee, performed by Stanley Holloway (1935)
  • "The Jubilee Sov'rin" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1937)
  • "The 'Ole in the Ark" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1937)
  • "Albert and the 'Eadsman" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1937)
  • "The Battle of Hastings" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1937)
  • "Jonah and the Grampus" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1937)
  • "My Word, You Do Look Queer" – written by Bob Weston & Bert Lee, performed by Stanley Holloway 5(1938)
  • "The Parson of Puddle" – written by Greatrex Newman, performed by Stanley Holloway (1938)
  • "Green-Eyed Dragon" – written by Greatrix Newman and Wolseley Charles, performed by Stanley Holloway (1938)
  • "Old Sam's Christmas Pudding" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1939)
  • "The Recumbent Posture" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1939)
  • "Hand in Hand" – performed by Stanley Holloway (1939)
  • "The Negro Preacher" – performed by Stanley Holloway (1939)
  • "Brahn Boots" – written by Weston and Lee, performed by Stanley Holloway (1940)
  • "Albert Evacuated" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1940)
  • "Yorkshire Pudden!" – written by Weston and Lee performed by Stanley Holloway (1940)
  • "Marksman Sam" – written by Marriott Edger and performed by Stanley Holloway (1940)
  • "The Return of Albert" – written by Stanley Lupino and performed by Stanley Holloway (Albert Comes Back) (1940)
  • "Sam Goes to It" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1941)
  • "No Like-a da War" – performed by Stanley Holloway (with piano accompaniment by W.T. Best) (1941)
  • "Uppards" – written by Marriot Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1941)
  • "The Future Mrs. 'Awkins" – originally performed by Albert Chevalier (1898), covered by Stanley Holloway in (1942)
  • "Guarding the Gasworks" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1942)
  • "My Missus" – originally performed by Stanley Holloway (1943)
  • "Albert and His Savings" – written by Marriott Edger, performed by Stanley Holloway (1944)
  • "With a Little Bit of Luck" – performed by Stanley Holloway from My Fair Lady (1956–1964)
  • "Get Me to the Church on Time" – performed by Stanley Holloway. From My Fair Lady (1956–1964)
  • "Sweeney Todd the Barber" – written by Weston and Lee, performed by Stanley Holloway (1957')
  • "Sing a Song of London" – written and originally performed by Ambrose, covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Petticoat Lane" – performed by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Sing a Song of London" – by Stanley Holloway and the cast of the original West End Stage Show (1960)
  • "Tommy the Whistler" – originally performed by Tommy Steele, covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "A Dark Girl Dressed in Blue" – originally performed by George Robey, covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Any Old Iron" – (music by Charles Collins lyrics by Terry Sheppard) first performed by Harry Champion in 1911 covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "A Bachelor Gay" – written by Harold Fraser-Simson, originally performed by Harry Welchman (1932), covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Petticoat Lane" – performed by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Sing a Song of London" – written and originally performed by Ambrose, covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Comedy Tonight (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum)" – written by Stephen Sondehiem, covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Where Did You Get that Hat" – Words and music by James Rolmaz in c.1888, performed by Stanley Holloway in 1940 and 1960
  • "If You Were the Only Girl in the World" – performed by George Robey and Violet Lorraine (1916), covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Two Lovely Black Eyes" – performed by Charles Coburn (1886), covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "The Galloping Major" – performed by George Bastow (1906), covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "Lily of Laguna" – written by Leslie Stuart, performed by Eugene Stratton (1898), covered by Stanley Holloway (1960)
  • "I Live In Trafalgar Square" – written by C.W. Murphy, first performed by Morny Cash in 1908, covered by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "Hello! Hello! Who's Your Lady Friend?" – written by David Worton & Bert Lee, sung by Harry Fragson (1911), covered by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "The Little Shirt My Mother Made for Me" – first recorded by Marty Robbins, covered by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "You Can Do a Lot of Things at the Seaside" – written in 1901 by unknown, performed by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "And Yet I Don't Know!" written in 1882 by unknown, performed by Stanley Holloway in (1962)
  • "I'm Shy, Mary Ellen, I'm Shy" – written and performed by Jack Pleasants in 1912, covered by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "Oh, I Must Go Home Tonight!" – first performed by Billy Williams in 1908, covered by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "Eving's Dorg 'Ospital" – performed by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life" – first recorded by Billy Merson in 1911, covered by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "My Old Dutch" – written by A.C.Ingle, first performed by Albert Chevalier in 1910, covered by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "Let's All Go Down the Strand" – (words and music by Harry Castling and C. W. Murphy), covered by Stanley Holloway (1962)
  • "It Were All Green Hills" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1974)
  • "The Magna Charter" – written by Marriott Edgar, performed by Stanley Holloway (1975)
  • "Albert's Reunion" – written and performed by Stanley Holloway (1978)

Autobiography

He entitled his 1967 autobiography Wiv a Little Bit of Luck after the song he performed in My Fair Lady.

Sources

  • Holloway, Stanley; Richards, Dick (1967). Wiv a little bit o’ luck: The life story of Stanley Holloway. London: Frewin. ISBN B0000CNLM5. OCLC 3647363.  Also published as Holloway, Stanley; Richards, Dick (1967). Wiv a little bit o’ luck: The life story of Stanley Holloway. New York: Stein and Day. OCLC 1373117. 

References

External links

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