The One and Only Bob Monkhouse
There will never be another comedian like Bob Monkhouse, and this is why.
- The One and Only Bob Monkhouse.
- His early Career
- He made The Golden Shot his own
- He Earned respect for his one-liners
- He suffered even more Heartbreak
The One and Only Bob Monkhouse.
Bob Monkhouse was 16 when I was born, and I can remember him around for most of my life. As well as being a quick witted comedian with a never ending store of oneliners, he was also a game show host, an actor, and a comedy writer.
He was a very handsome man, with luxuriant dark hair, always very smartly dressed, with a winning and ready smile. Like all successful people, the Press were jealous of him, and he was referred to as " greasy." Nothing could have been further from the truth, sincerity positive shone out of him, and whenever he was on TV, I was captivated.
His early Career
Bob started off as one half of a comedy writing team with Dennis Goodwin. writing jokes for comedians such as Arthur Askey, Jimmy Edwards, Ted Ray and Max Miller. Bob also wrote gags for American comedians like Bob Hope, when he wanted jokes for his British Tours.
He became a host on Do you trust your wife? in 1956, and then went onto host many more game shows, which raised his profile considerably. Then he was offered film parts, whch included the first of the Carry on series, Carry on Sergeant.
He made The Golden Shot his own
I remember him hosting the game show the Golden Shot, in the 1960s. I used to watch it every Sunday afternoon, and it drew in audiences of 17 million viewers. Bob with his ready wit put the contestants at ease , and his little fluffy blonde assistant Ann, was often teased lightheartedly by Bob, because she apparently had trouble adding up the scores.
He also hosted Celebrity Squares, Bob's Full House, and Family Fortunes, regularly drawing in around 15 million viewers. He was proving to be a great hit with the public, and went on to do many more television shows, far too many to list here.
He Earned respect for his one-liners
Bob was a very respected comedian, so quick witted, he could make a joke out of any word he was given. He delivered his jokes with a very serious expression on his face, which somehow made them even funnier. But behind the joking exterior there was a man who hid so much of the pain and anguish he went through in his life.
His son Simon was born with cerebral palsy , and died in 1992 after living until 40. Bob campaigned avidly for disabled people. He wrote a book about his life in 1993 entitled Crying with Laughter, in which he explained how he had never felt loved by his mother, who was undemonstrative, and he also spoke about his dear son.
I felt an affinity with him. I knew how this felt, to have a disabled son. His book was brillliantly written, one minute I was roaring with laughter, the next I was shedding tears. It was very aptly titled.
I wrote to tell him how much I had enjoyed reading it, and to my amazement I received a beautiful hand written letter back from him, thanking me for my support, and wishing me well.
He suffered even more Heartbreak
In 2001 Bob's other son Simon died from a heroin overdose. They had been estranged for over 10 years, so it was even more heartbreaking for him . He hid his pain , doing his best to carry on normally. Soon after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
He carried on working almost up until his death in 2003, showing such bravery in the face of his illness, even joking about it, and how long he might have left to live. He lives in my memory as a man who gave a great deal of laughter and happiness to many people, a true gent, who had much tragedy in his own life, but never complained about it. He just dealt with it. He so rightfully deserved his OBE, which he received in 1993. God Bless you Bob Monkhouse, a true comedy legend. R.I.P. xxxx
Listen to Bob here
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