Max Bygraves OBE, who featured on a number of television and radio shows during the period from the 1950's to the 1980's, has died at his home in Hope Island, Queensland. According to the Daily Telegraph
, Bygraves had been ill with Alzheimer's disease for some time.
was born in relative poverty in Rotherhithe, south-east London in 1922 as Walter William Bygraves.
After serving with ENSA
in World War II, Bygraves took to the stage and entered the world of variety shows. Bygraves was a versatile entertainer, from the era when it was not simply enough to be good (or semi-good) at one thing. Bygraves showed talent at comedy, singing and acting. Through performing at various theatres around the UK, Sky News
surmises, Bygraves performed with artists like Spike Milligan, Benny Hill, Harry Secombe and Frankie Howerd.
It was by playing variety shows, such as many events at the London Palladium, that Byrgaves developed his main catchphrase, which was "I wanna tell you a story". From London Bygraves went to New York and had similar success with shows at the Palace Theater.
Bygraves also had some success as a recording artist. His albums sold around 7 million copies, earning 31 gold discs.
Bygraves went on to star in television shows and occasional films, like 'Charley Moon
' (1956). In the 1970s, Bygraves presented a number of light entertainment shows for the BBC. Later in his career he presented the popular game show 'Family Fortunes'.
Quoted by the Daily Mail
, Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck said that "He was one of the all-time greats of British show-business."