Ray Alan

Ray Alan

Date of birth: 18-09-1930
Date of death: 24-05-2010

Regarded as one of Britain’s most technically brilliant ventriloquists, Ray Alan was born in Greenwich, London, on September 18, 1930.

He started in showbusiness young, entering a talent contest at his local cinema when he was aged just five. By 13 he had become a call-boy at the Lewisham Hippodrome, where he was allowed to perform magic between the acts on the variety bill, before adding ventriloquism to his repertoire.

In 1954, he supported Laurel and Hardy on their last tour of Britain, when he also came up with his most famous creation: the drunken aristocrat Lord Charles, who had a roving eye for the ladies and the catchphrase ‘you silly arse’. The puppet’s face was modelled on Stan Laurel's.

It was about this time he broke into TV in the Fifties, and Alan was a regular on TV variety shows and panel games, including The Good Old Days, into the Eighties. In later years, Alan was a cruise-ship entertainer, including a stint working on the QE2, before his retirement in 2008.

He died ‘very suddenly’ on May 24, 2010.

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Ray Alan dies

Lord Charles ventriloquist was 79

Ventriloquist Ray Alan, known for his drunken aristocrat puppet Lord Charles, has died suddenly at the age of 79.

The entertainer, who broke into TV in the Fifties, with credits including The Good Old Days, retired from showbusiness in 2008 due to ill health.

His puppet became famous for his catchphrase ‘you silly arse’ and his roving eye.

Born in Greenwich, London, on September 18, 1930 , Alan started in showbusiness young, entering a talent contest at his local cinema when he was aged just five.

By 13 he had become a call-boy at the Lewisham Hippodrome, where he was allowed to perform magic between the acts on the variety bill, before adding ventriloquism to his repertoire.

In 1954, he supported Laurel and Hardy on their last tour of Britain, and modelled Lord Charles's face on Stan Laurel's.

He was a regular on TV variety shows and panel games into the Eighties and in later years was a cruise-ship entertainer, including a stint working on the QE2.

His agent Peter Pritchard said that ‘he passed away very suddenly’ at his home in Reigate, Surrey, in the early hours of this morning.

He told the Press Association: ‘Technically he was regarded as Britain's top ventriloquist. You couldn't see his mouth moving. He was tremendously well-liked in the business and he had been in the entertainment business all his life.’

Here he is in action on the Bob Monkhouse show:

And here he is giving an interview about the roots of the Lord Charles character, and the time he toured with Laurel and Hardy.

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Published: 24 May 2010

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