Jimmy Edwards born 23 March 1920 (d. 1988)
Jimmy Edwards was an English radio and television comedy actor, best known as Pa Glum in Take It From Here and as the headmaster 'Professor' James Edwards in Whack-O!
Born James Keith O'Neill in Barnes, London, he went to King's College School in Wimbledon, London. He served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. His Dakota was shot down at Arnhem in 1944, resulting in injuries requiring plastic surgery — he disguised it with the huge handlebar moustache that later became his trademark. He was a member of the Guinea Pig Club.
Edwards was a feature of London theatre in the immediate post-War years, including a season with Tony Hancock, having previously performed in the Cambridge Footlights review. He gained wider exposure as a radio performer in Take It From Here, co-starring Dick Bentley, which first paired his writer Frank Muir with Bentley's: Denis Norden.
Graduating to television, he appeared in Whack-O!, also written by Muir and Norden, the panel game Does the Team Think?, The Seven Faces of Jim, as well as guest slots in Make Room for Daddy and Sykes. Edwards also worked with Eric Sykes when he acted in the Sykes-penned short films The Plank (1967) (alongside Tommy Cooper), and in the remake of the film (The Plank (1979 — alongside Arthur Lowe), as well as in Rhubarb (1969) (which also featured Harry Secombe). Edwards and Sykes also toured in their theatrical farce Big Bad Mouse, which while keeping more or less to a script, gave them rein to ad lib, address the audience and so forth.
He published his autobiography, Six of the Best, in 1984, as a follow up to the earlier Take it From Me. Amongst his outside interests were brass bands - he played the tuba and the euphonium - and the Handlebar Club, in which all the members had such moustaches.
Edwards was a lifelong Conservative and in the 1964 general election stood as a candidate for them in Paddington North, without success. He was also a devotee of fox hunting, a pursuit he followed at Rottingdean, near Brighton - a Brighton and Hove bus is named after him.
Having been previously married, during the 1970s he also came out as a homosexual, and consequently found TV work harder to come by in what were more homophobic times.
His spent much of his life in East Sussex and he died in London in 1988 at the age of 68 from pneumonia.
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