George Formby

Born 26 May 1904. Died 6 March 1961.

Music Hall Artist 1904-1961

George Formby

Biography

George Formby, OBE (born George Hoy Booth; 26 May 1904 – 6 March 1961), was a British actor, singer-songwriter and comedian who became known to a worldwide audience through his films of the 1930s and 1940s. He sang light, comical songs, usually playing the ukelele or banjolele, on stage, screen and record, and became the UK's highest-paid entertainer.

Born in Wigan, Lancashire, Formby was the son of George Formby, Sr., from whom he later took his stage name. After an early career as a stable boy and jockey, Formby took to the music hall stage after the early death of his father in 1921; his early performances were taken exclusively from his father's act, including using the same songs, jokes and characters. In 1923 he made two career-changing decisions – he purchased a ukelele, and he married a fellow-performer, Beryl Ingham, who became his manager and transformed his act, insisting he dressed on stage in black tie and introducing the ukelele on stage. He started his recording career in 1926 and, from 1934, he increasingly worked in film to become a major star by the late 1930s and 1940s, becoming the UK's highest-paid entertainer and most popular entertainer during those decades.

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