Norman Wisdom

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Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom,[1] OBE[2] (4 February 1915 – 4 October 2010) was an English comedian, singer-songwriter and actor best known for a series of comedy films produced between 1953 and 1966 featuring his hapless onscreen character Norman Pitkin. These films initially made more money than the James Bond film series,[3] and secured Wisdom a celebrity status in lands as far apart as South America, Iran and many Eastern Bloc countries, particularly in Albania where his films were permitted by Enver Hoxha – Wisdom was the only Western actor to enjoy this privilege.[4] Charlie Chaplin famously referred to Wisdom as his "favourite clown".[5]

Wisdom later forged a career on Broadway and as a television actor, winning critical acclaim for his dramatic role of a dying cancer patient in the television play Going Gently in 1981. It was broadcast on 5 June that year. He toured Australia and South Africa.[3] After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, a hospice was named in his honour.[4] In 1995 he was given the Freedom of the City of London and of Tirana.[4] The same year he received an OBE.[4] Wisdom was knighted in 2000 and spent much of his later life on the Isle of Man. Some of his later appearances included roles in Last of the Summer Wine and Coronation Street,[4] and he retired from acting at the age of 90 after his health declined.


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