Tony Hancock

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Anthony John "Tony" Hancock (12 May 1924 – 24 June 1968) was a British actor and comedian.

Contents

Early life and career

Hancock was born in Southam Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, England,[1] but from the age of three was brought up in Bournemouth, where his father, John Hancock, who ran the Railway Hotel in Holdenhurst Road, worked as a comedian and entertainer.

After his father's death in 1934, Hancock and his brothers lived with their mother and stepfather at a small hotel then called The Durlston Court (now renamed The Quality Hotel). He attended Durlston Court Preparatory School, a boarding school at Durlston in Swanage (moved during World War II and now located in Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire)[2] and Bradfield College in Reading, Berkshire, but left school at the age of fifteen.

In 1942, during World War II, Hancock joined the RAF Regiment. Following a failed audition for the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), he ended up on The Ralph Reader Gang Show. After the war, he returned to the stage and eventually worked as resident comedian at the Windmill Theatre, home to many comedians and actors of the period,[3] and worked on radio shows such as Workers' Playtime and Variety Bandbox.

In 1951, Hancock joined the cast of Educating Archie, where he played the tutor and foil to the nominal star, a ventriloquist's dummy. This brought him recognition and a catchphrase he used frequently in the show ("Flippin' kids!") became popular parlance. The same year, he made regular appearances on BBC Television's popular light entertainment show Kaleidoscope.

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