Stanley Holloway

Stanley Augustus Holloway (October 1, 1890 - January 30, 1982) was a British actor and entertainer famous for his comic and character roles on stage and screen. He was also renowned for his recordings of comic monologues.



He was born on the 1st October 1890 in London, England. His first job was as a clerk in Billingsgate fish market, but from 1907 he was performing in end of pier concert parties at English east coast seaside resorts. He was then recruited by established comedian Leslie Henson to feature as a support in Hensonís own more prestigious concert-party. He planned a career as a singer and went to Milan to train his voice but the outbreak of war in 1914 changed his plans.

During World War One he enlisted in the Connaught Rangers infantry regiment.

After the war he found his first big success is the show The Co-Optimists which ran from 1921 until 1927 and was then filmed. A second run of the show from 1929 developed his comic song and monologue repertoire which launched his recording career with records of his own created character, "Sam Small," and Marriott Edgar's "The Ramsbottoms" selling world wide.

He spent the 1930s appearing in a series of cheaply made movies but which included some notable work in Squibs (1935) and The Vicar of Bray (1937).

His career changed again in 1941 when he played in a major film production of George Bernard Shawís Major Barbara. He then took patriotic, moral boosting, light comic roles in The Way Ahead, and in This Happy Breed (1944).

After World War Two he had notable roles in the smash hit Brief Encounter , in Nicholas Nickleby, and played the grave digger in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet.

He then became a mainstay of the Ealing Comedies productions, making classics like Passport to Pimlico, The Lavender Hill Mob and The Titfield Thunderbolt.

His film output had made him enough of a public name in the USA to land him the part of Alfred P. Doolittle in the Broadway stage smash hit My Fair Lady, after Jimmy Cagney turned it down. He had a long association with the show appearing in the original 1956 Broadway production , the 1958 London version and the film version of 1964. He entitled his autobiography Wiv a Little Bit of Luck after the song he performed in these productions.

He was still performing English character parts into his eighties.

He died at Littlehampton on 30 January 1982.

His granddaughter is the actress Sophie Dahl.

Musical theater credits

Partial Filmography

See Also

Marriott Edgar


Holloway, Stanley (1967). Wiv a little bit o' luck: The life story of Stanley Holloway. Frewin. ISBN B0000CNLM5

sv:Stanley Holloway


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