Goodbye my darlings

Charlie Drake dies at 91

Charlie Drake has died at the age of 81 following a long illness caused by two strokes.

The diminutive ginger star, best known for his catchphrase Hello My Darlings and novelty songs including My Boomerang Won't Come Back, died in his sleep at a nursing home in in Twickenham, west London.

Laurie Mansfield, his manager for 37 years, called him ’the last of the great slapstick comedians’.

Drake’s career was at its peak in the Sixties and Seventies starred in a string of hit TV shows including The Worker, but he continued to work well into his seventies, appearing in Jim Davidson’s adult pantomime Sinderella.

Mansfield added: ’It is the end of an era, of those comics and comedians that dominated our lives throughout the Sixties and Seventies. He combined verbal humour with knockabout comedy. His timing was acknowledged by everyone as being the very, very best, and his passing is a great personal loss for me.’

Drake was known for being a perfectionist and a difficult man to work with. He blew his chances of making in America after walking off the all-powerful Ed Sullivan Show when producers would not allow him to perform a slapstick routine the way he wanted.

In 1961, Drake, whose real name was Charles Springall, fractured his skull when a slapstick stunt on his live BBC show, in which he was pulled through a bookcase and thrown through a window, went wrong - leaving him unconscious for three days. He retired from showbusiness for two years after the accident

He suffered his first stroke in 1995, causing him to retire permanently.Click here for Chortle’s biography of Charlie Drake.

Published: 24 Dec 2006

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