Ken Dodd

Ken Dodd

Date of birth: 08-11-1927

Dodd started his career as a ventriloquist - and indeed still uses the Dicky Mint dummy in his act.

However, his success came through his exaggerated on-stage persona - the manic hairstyle, protruding teeth and, of course, trademark tickling stick - combined with a relentless stream of one-liners, peppered with nonsense words like 'tattifilarious', that can - and do - entertain audiences for hours.

He built his reputation as a live performer on the variety stage, and famously logs audience reactions to jokes every night, building up a picture of what plays well where.

His career was boosted with appearances on TV, often just guest roles, but his bizarre appearance would always stick in the mind. He also has a penchant for sickly ballads, as well as his signature tune Happiness, recording several albums of love songs and notching up 19 top 40 hits, including the 1965 chart-topper Tears.

Dodd became embroiled in a tax-dodging case in the Eighties, and was eventually cleared, but the case revealed much about Dodd's eccentric private life, too.

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© David A Ellis / Creative Commons 3.0

Ken Dodd left £27.5million

...and the taxman didn't see a penny

Sir Ken Dodd left his long-term partner £27.5million, it has been revealed today.

The comic avoided paying any inheritance tax on his fortune by marrying Anne Jones just two days before he died last March at the age of 90.

Had they not wed, HMRC would have received just under £11million from his estate.

Instead, it all went to 77-year-old Anne Jones, The Sun reports today. The sum is much larger than previously thought, too: at the time of Dodd’s death he was estimated to be worth £7.2million.

Dodd was involved in a famous tax evasion case in 1989, and although he was acquitted the proceedings exposed some of the fiercely private comedian’s eccentricities.

A total of £336,000 in cash had been found stuffed in suitcases in his attic at his Knotty Ash home.

And the Diddy Men, who appeared with him on stage, were often played by unpaid local children from stage school

Dodd was represented by his  own lawyer, George Carman, described Dodd as ‘a fantasist stamped with lifelong eccentricities’.

Despite his acquittal, Dodd settled his tax bill – plus penalties – with HMRC.

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Published: 9 Feb 2019

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