Norman Vaughan May 22, 2010 10:22:16 GMT 1
Post by Laurence on May 22, 2010 10:22:16 GMT 1
One of the most successful British comics of the 1960s, Norman Vaughan had the unenviable task of taking over from Bruce Forsyth as host of the famous Sunday Night at the London Palladium in 1962. He became an overnight sensation.
Born in Liverpool on April 10, 1923, Norman wanted to go into showbiz from an early age. As a teenager he formed his own dance band called The Dancing Aces. In 1945 he was called into the Army to do his National Service and served in the Light Infantry in Gibraltar and Egypt. He was promoted to Sergeant in Italy and served with ENSA. Among his fellow performers were Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, the latter becoming a life-long friend.
On leaving the Army Norman went back into light entertainment doing variety and pantomime. He toured Australia for two years and returned home to successful summer seasons around the UK. In 1962 he was chosen by Lew Grade to take over as host of the Palladium Show. His likeable but nervous disposition, trademark thumbs up gesture and catchphrases (swingin' and dodgy) was an instant hit with viewers and over the next three years he hosted over 100 shows introducing some of the greatest names in entertainment from both Britain and America. By the time he left the show Norman was performing to packed audiences around the country and commanding record fees. He also became the face of the confectionary 'Roses' in a series of TV ads and added another catchprase to his repertoire, "Roses - they grow on you."
In 1972 he took over from Bob Monkhouse as host of The Golden Shot but only lasted there for a year. It was not his type of show. Undeterred he became a stalwart of television games shows such as Celebrity Squares, 3-2-1, Give Us a Clue and Larry Grayson's Generation Game, as well as being compere of the BBC's Pebble Mill Showcase. In 1981 he devised the game show Bullseye, which was hosted by Jim Bowen.
By this time his career was in decline and he was rarely seen on television. However, he returned to the stage and went on tour with Barbara Windsor in Calamity Jane. In the nineties he was virtualy retired and spent most of his time in Florida where he indulged in his passion of playing golf.
On 17th April 2002 Norman was knocked down by a car at Waterloo Bridge. He was admitted to the Royal London Hospital but failed to recover and passed away on May 17, 2002 aged 79.