Saturday, 10 March 2012

BENNY HILL - Prof. Simon Peach

Alfred Hawthorne Hill (born 21st January, 1924 – died 19th April, 1992), better known as Benny Hill, was a prolific English comic, actor and singer, best known for his television programme, The Benny Hill Show.
Benny Hill's film credits include parts in nine films including Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965); Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), in which he played the relatively straight role of the Toymaker; The Italian Job (1969); and, finally, a clip-show film spin-off of his early Thames shows (1969–73), called The Best of Benny Hill (1974).
Hill's audio recordings include "Gather in the Mushrooms" (1961), "Transistor Radio" (1961), "Harvest of Love" (1963), "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)" (1971). He also appeared in the 1986 video of the song "Anything She Does" by the band Genesis.
Hill's song, "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)," on the Best of Benny Hill album made the UK chart as Christmas number one single in 1971.
Hill's health began to decline in the early 1990s. He suffered heart problems, and on 11 February 1992, doctors told him he needed to lose weight and recommended a heart bypass. He declined and was diagnosed a week later with renal failure.
Benny Hill died on or about 19 April 1992, Easter weekend, alone in his flat at 7 Fairwater House, Twickenham Road, Teddington, South West London, at the age of 68. On 21 April, neighbours called the police, who then found Hill, deceased, sitting in his armchair in front of the television. On the day Hill died, a new contract arrived in the post from Central Independent Television.
The cause of death was listed as coronary thrombosis. His death coincided with that of Frankie Howerd, who died on 19 April aged 75. An obituary appeared in newspapers on 20 April, with Hill (whose death was yet to be discovered) saying that he and Howerd were "great friends". This has led to confusion as to who died first.
Hill was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery near his birthplace in Southampton. In October 1992, following rumours that he was buried with large amounts of gold jewellery, an attempt was made by thieves to exhume his body. However, when authorities looked into his open coffin the following morning, there was no treasure. Consequently, only the culprits know whether anything valuable was inside. Hill was re-buried with a new coffin lid and a solid slab across the top of the grave.

My Benny Hill autograph display.

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