Dodd has had many recording hits, charting on 19 occasions in the UK Top 40, including his first single Love Is Like A Violin (1960), produced on Decca by Alex Wharton, which charted at number 8 (UK), and his song Tears, which topped the UK charts for five weeks in 1965, selling over two million copies. This remains one of the biggest selling singles of all time in the United Kingdom. It was also during the 1960s that Dodd entered the Guinness Book of Records, for the world's longest joke-telling session ever: 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours, undertaken at a Liverpool theatre, where audiences were observed to enter the show in shifts. Most recently, Ken Dodd appeared at the Royal Variety Performance in 2006 in front of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, where he reprised some of his famous jokes, including those about tax, accountants as well as singing his famous song "Happiness". Ken Dodd was Born on the 8th November 1927 in Knottyash on the outskirts of Liverpool, son of a coal merchant, Arthur Dodd and wife Sarah Dodd.
He went to the Knottyash School, and sang in the local church choir of St. Johns Church, Knottyash. At the age of seven, was dared by his school friends to ride his bike with his eyes shut.....and he did, for about 10 feet and the bike hit the kerb. Ken went flying open mouthed onto the tarmac resulting in his famous teeth you see today. It was around this time he became interested in showbiz.
After seeing an advert in a comic, "Fool Your Teachers, Amaze Your Friends - Send 6d in Stamps and Become a Ventriloquist!" And he promptly sent off for the book. Not long after, his father bought him a ventriloquist's dummy and Ken called it Charlie Brown. He started entertaining at the local orphanage, then at various other local community functions. In 1946, just after the war, Ken entered the University of Durham attending Hatfield College.
He graduated in 1949 with a 2-2 in English Literature. He got his big break at the age of 27. In September 1954 he apeared at the Nottingham Playhouse. A nervous young man, he sat in a local Milk Bar for most of the Afternoon going over and over his lines before going to the theatre. Although he can't remember much of the actual act of that night.
He did recall, " Well at least they didn't boo me off". But there wasn't much fear of that, as Dodd's act went from strength to strength, eventually topping the bill at Blackpool in 1958. Ken Dodd's personal life has not been without incident. He was charged with tax evasion in 1989. The subsequent trial led to several revelations.
This included details about the Diddy Men, who had appeared in his stage act, often played by local children from stage schools, who were revealed to have never been paid. Dodd was also revealed to have very little money in his bank account, having £336,000 in cash stashed in suitcases in his attic. When asked by the judge, "What does a hundred thousand pounds in a suitcase feel like?", Dodd made his now famous reply, "The notes are very light, M'Lord." Dodd was represented by George Carman, who in court famously quipped, "Some accountants are comedians, but comedians are never accountants". The trial lasted nearly three months: Dodd was acquitted. Among the people of Liverpool there was a belief that Ken was "tight" about his money.
This feeling was possibly one of the triggers for the tax authorities to examine him. What the tax people found was a man who hoarded money, rather than a man who sought to avoid tax. Upon examination, Ken Dodd did not have big properties in tax havens nor did he have luxury yachts. It was obvious that he lived a frugal lifestyle and the jury agreed that his wonderful contribution to the nation was more important than his tax lapse. Despite the strain of the trial, Dodd immediately capitalized on his new-found notoriety with a successful season running from Easter to Christmas 1990 at the London Palladium. It was there he had previously broken the house record for the longest comedy season at the theatre, in 1965, with a residency lasting forty-two weeks.
Some of his current material mocks the trial and tax in general. For a while he introduced his act with the words, "Good evening, my name is Kenneth Arthur Dodd; singer, photographic playboy and failed accountant!" Ken Dodd has had two long time fiancées, but has never married. A stalker, Ruth Tagg, who harassed Dodd and his girlfriend Anne Jones, sending threatening letters and a dead rat, attempted to burn down his house by pushing burning rags through the letterbox, in October 2001. Tagg pleaded guilty to harassment and arson at Preston Crown Court. Legacy More recently.
the focus has been on Ken Dodd's continuing legacy as one of the UK's finest comedy performers. In December 2004, Dodd was in Nottingham to be presented with a framed playbill after a sell out performance at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham to celebrate his 50 years in show business. Dodd's first professional performance was on stage at the Empire Theatre, Nottingham in 1954. Dodd is the last of the music hall comics, and is well regarded by his comedy peers. In a 2005 poll of comedians and comedy insiders to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted amongst the 'Top 50 Comedy Acts Ever', ranked as number 36.
Dodd is also famed for his meticulous recording of every performance, cross-referencing the place he was performing, the jokes he has used, and the reception they received, so as to hone his act to near-perfection for each audience. He once was said to have commented that first house on a Glasgow Friday night was the hardest audience in the UK. UK chart singles "Love Is Like A Violin" (1960) "Once In Every Lifetime" (1961) "Pianissimo (1962) "Still" (1963) "Eight By Ten" (1964) "Happiness" (1964) "So Deep Is The Night" (1964) "Tears" (1965, number 1 hit and sold over a million copies) "The River (Le Colline Sono In Fioro)" (1965) "Where's Me Shirt" "Promises" (1966) "More Than Love" (1966) "It's Love" (1966) "Let Me Cry On Your Shoulder" (1967) "Tears Won't Wash Away These Heartaches" (1969) "Broken Hearted" (1970) "When Love Comes Round Again (L'arca di Noe)" (1971) "Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms)" (1972) "(Think Of Me) Wherever You Are" (1975) "Hold My Hand" (1981) Credit: wikipedia Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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