Benny Hill (21 January 1924 – 20 April 1992) was an English comedian and actor, notable for his long-running television programme The Benny Hill Show. Hill had struggled on stage and had uneven success in radio. But in television he found a form that played to his strengths, allowing him a format that included live comedy and filmed segments, with him at the focus of almost every segment. It was to prove one of the great success stories of television comedy, keeping Hill a star for nearly four decades, generating impressive revenues for Thames TV, and remaining a cult series in much of the world long after Hill's death. Charlie Chaplin was a fan of Hill's work: Hill had discovered that Chaplin, his childhood idol, was a fan when he was invited to Chaplin's home in Switzerland by Chaplin's family and discovered that Chaplin had a collection of Hill's work on video. Hill and Dennis Kirkland were the first outside the family to be invited into Chaplin's private study. Hill was awarded the Charlie Chaplin International Award for Comedy at the 1991 Festival of Comedy in Vevey, Switzerland. Hill never married, although he did propose to three women—one the daughter of a British writer—but was turned down by all three. Although he owned the family home in Southampton, he never owned his own home in London, nor a car. Hill preferred to rent a place to live rather than buy one, first a large double apartment in Queensgate, London for 26 years until 1986, and then a small flat in Teddington, London, within walking distance of the studios of Thames Television where he recorded his shows.
His mother died in 1976 at age 82, and Hill kept the family house at 22 Westrow Gardens in Southampton as a shrine to her, not changing a thing. Before his move to Teddington, whilst looking for somewhere else to live in the Richmond area of London, he lived at 22 Westrow Gardens. Travelling was the one luxury Hill permitted himself; he became a francophile, enjoying frequent visits to France, and in particular Marseille, where until the 1980s he could enjoy anonymity in outdoor cafés, on public transport, and socialising with local women. Besides mastering French, Hill also spoke enough German, Dutch and Italian to get by when travelling. Such holidays were often gathering missions for comedy material, borrowed from regional acts. Hill's health began to decline in the early 1980s, and after suffering a mild heart attack on February 24, 1992, doctors told him he needed to lose weight and recommended a heart bypass. He declined, and a week later was found to have kidney failure. Hill died at the age of 68 on 20 April 1992. On 22 April, after several days of unanswered telephone calls, his producer, Dennis Kirkland, climbed a ladder to the balcony of Hill's 3rd floor apartment and upon seeing the body through a window had the neighbours call the police. The police broke into the apartment and found Hill, dead, sitting in his armchair in front of the television. Hill's cause of death was recorded as coronary thrombosis.
Hill was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery near his birthplace in Southampton on 26 April 1992. In October 1992, following rumors 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, it is not generally known whether anything valuable was inside. Hill was reburied with a new coffin lid and a solid slab across the top of the grave. Hill's fortune was estimated at £10 million. His only will, however, dated from 1961 and left his entire estate to his parents, both of whom had since died. Next in line were his brother Leonard and sister Diana, both of whom were also dead. This left his seven nieces and nephews, among whom the money was divided. A note was found among his belongings assigning huge sums of money to his close friends, but because there was no witness the note had no legal standing.
So here we present Benny Hill Who made some great comedy records and was a genuine funny man. so must rate as a true great of his time.
|Birth name||Alfred Hawthorne Hill|
|Born||21 January 1925|
Southampton, Hampshire, England
|Died||20 April 1992 (aged 68)|
Teddington, London, England
|Notable works and roles||The Benny Hill Show (1951–91)|
Who Done It? (1956)
Light Up the Sky! (1960)
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
The Italian Job (1969)