OTLEY AND DISTRICT MEN’S FORUM

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Norman Wisdom’s Life Story
Pat Osbourne

A first class raconteur who has stories about Dickens, Lowry, Beatrix Potter and the Brontes

 in her repertoire, Mrs Pat Osbourne told us the life story of Norman Wisdom.

 She described him as a brilliant anarchic comedian who rose from childhood poverty to

 become one of the most popular comedians in Britain .

 He and his elder brother were left in a one room flat to fend for themselves and between the

 ages of nine and eleven became urchins, stealing fruit to survive. At the age of fourteen he

 walked from London to Cardiff   and with the help of a friendly docker became a cabin boy on

 a ship bound for Argentine. There was no further work for him as a seaman and he lived

 rough in London until he joined the Army, spending five years in India as a bandsman.

 It was during this time that he discovered his ability to entertain and amuse people.

 Upon leaving the army he tried his hand at Variety. After a successful period working with

 David Nixon he branched out and started to give solo performances. Vera Lynn was so

 impressed that she helped him to obtain top billing. This success caused Rank to offer him a

 seven year contract. His first film for them “Trouble in Store” in 1953 was so successful that

 his career as a very popular film star blossomed. He made seventeen films and appeared on

numerous television shows, taking part in “This is Your Life” on two occasions before also

 showing his ability as a serious actor.

 He was knighted in 2000 and gradually reduced his work load as age and infirmity prevented

 his continuation as a performer. He spent his last 30 years on the Isle of Man and eventually  

died there at the age of ninety five.


Our next meeting at Otley Methodist Church is on Thursday 7th February at 10-00am when

 Jim Monte will tell us about Lead Mining in Yorkshire .

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