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Benny Hill

Born Alfred Hawthorne Hill (January 21, 1924 - April 20, 1992), Benny Hill was a prolific comic UK actor. He worked compulsively and had only a few friends, although colleagues who knew him closely insist that he was never lonely, but was content with his own company.

His television program, The Benny Hill Show, featured him in innumerable short sketches (along with Henry McGee, Carol Cleveland, and others) portraying a leering, lecherous, never-quite-succeeding, yet charming protagonist. Slapstick and double entendre were his hallmark. He used speeded up film and sight gags to create what he called "live animation". He was also a skilled composer and singer of patter songs. His shows were seen in over 100 countries across the World.

The Benny Hill Show (1969-1989) is in syndication and is available on videotape in the US. (There is far less material currently available in the UK.) The syndicated version consists of 111 half-hour episodes, re-edited from the original hour-long specials made by Thames Television and screened on Britain's ITV network three or four times a year. Half-hour edits also appeared on ITV, although the contents may be different from the syndicated versions. In 1989 Thames dropped Hill because his material was no longer considered politically correct. He later recorded some shows for US television.

His audio recordings include Gather In The Mushrooms (1961), Transistor Radio (1961), Harvest Of Love (1963), Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) (1971), among many others.

His film credits include parts in nine films including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), in which he played the relatively straight role of the Toymaker, and The Italian Job.

Here is an example of his doggerel:

Roses are reddish
Violets are bluish
If it weren't for Christmas
We'd all be Jewish.

When he died, for legal reasons his ten million pound estate did not go to those close to him, such as his good friend Sue Upton, but was divided among seven nieces and nephews.

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