Barry Charles Cryer OBE (born 23 March 1935 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England) is a British writer and comedian. Cryer has written for many noted performers, including Dave Allen, Stanley Baxter, Jack Benny, Rory Bremner, George Burns, Jasper Carrott, Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, Kenny Everett, Bruce Forsyth, David Frost, Bob Hope, Frankie Howerd, Richard Pryor, Mike Yarwood, The Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise.
Cryer also wrote episodes for the Doctor in the House television comedy series in Britain.
Educated at Leeds Grammar School, Cryer went on to study English Literature at the University of Leeds.
After appearing in University revue, Cryer was offered a week's work at the famous Leeds City Varieties theatre, home of The Good Old Days, the longest-running television entertainment show in the world. Cryer left university after learning his first year results and travelled to London. After impressing impresario Vivian Van Damm, Cryer began the bottom billing act at the Windmill Theatre in London, a theatre which showed comedy acts in between nude tableau shows.
However, Cryer suffered severely from eczema, and after a number of hospitalisations was released from his contract by Van Damm. Concluding a performing career was not a wholly sustainable income choice because of his skin condition, Cryer chose to focus mainly on writing – something he could do even when suffering eczema attacks, which he did for the next eight years.
Cryer joined the cast of Expresso Bongo (1957) with Susan Hampshire, Millicent Martin, and Paul Scofield, during which he recorded the song "Purple People Eater", made famous by Sheb Wooley. For contractual reasons, Wooley's version was never released in Scandinavia, but Cryer's was, and it made number one hit record in Finland. Cryer's first writing credits were four sketches for The Jimmy Logan Show, co-written with Douglas Camfield. Cryer became head writer with an occasional stage role for Danny La Rue's London nightclub, where he was spotted by David Frost. This led to a writing role on the variety special A Degree of Frost, which lead to Cryer joining the writing team, which also included John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman; on The Frost Report from 1966–67. Frost used Cryer on a number of subsequent shows, which established Cryer as a star writer in the 1970s. Cryer is seen serving the wine in the original performance of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch on the At Last the 1948 Show (first broadcast in 1967) so may have contributed to its creation.
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