Francis Alick Howerd, who grew up to become popular British comedian Frankie Howerd, was born in 1917 and first set foot on stage at age 4.
A Sunday school teacher as a teen, his father, who died in 1934, had been an Army man for most of his life. Not long after Frankie was invited to audition for RADA. His audition was poor and from then on he knew his calling was not as an actor, but as a comedian.
At 19 he put together revues for music halls that included monologues, impressions, jokes and comic songs. This was not easy since he suffered from major stage fright, a life-long debilitation.
Following war service, Frankie refocused on his career with radio and theatre appearances. In the 1950s he finally earned his own TV variety shows, but his burgeoning reputation coupled with a lack of self-confidence led the painfully shy man to suffer severe emotional conflicts with this newlyfound success. This would culminate into a severe nervous breakdown in the early 1960s.
Prone to deep depression and melancholia, Frankie somehow managed to regroup. Though never a strong film performer, he managed to find work in such films as The Ladykillers,The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery, some 'Carry On' appearances, and the lead role in The House in Nightmare Park.
Frankie was awarded the OBE in 1977. In that same year his autobiography was published, "On My Way I Lost It." In early April of 1992, he went to the hospital with respiratory problems and died of heart failure on April 19th.