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George Formby
George Formby (1904-1961) was an English actor, singer-songwriter and comedian. On stage, screen and record he sang light, comical songs, usually playing the ukulele or banjolele, and became the UK's highest-paid entertainer. After an early career as a stable boy and jockey, Formby took to the music hall stage after the early death of his father in 1921. In 1923 he purchased a ukulele, and married Beryl Ingham, a fellow-performer who became his manager. She insisted that he appear on stage formally dressed, and introduced the ukulele to his performance. He started his recording career in 1926 and, from 1934, he increasingly worked in film to develop into a major star. During the Second World War, Formby entertained civilians and troops (pictured in France), and by 1946 it was estimated that he had performed in front of three million service personnel. After the war his career declined, although he toured the Commonwealth, and continued to appear in variety and pantomime. Formby was considered Britain's first properly home-grown screen comedian. He was an influence on future comedians—particularly Charlie Drake and Norman Wisdom—and, culturally, on entertainers such as the Beatles. (Full article...)

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