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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sir Norman Wisdom, 1915-2010

When I was a child, I enjoyed nothing more than to go to the cinema with my parents and watch a Norman Wisdom film. I enjoyed slapstick back then, and poor little downtrodden Norman was a master at it.

I had no idea that he had spent time on the streets of London as a boy, homeless after the break-up of his parents' marriage, and that joining the army had helped him find the stability of a family, and the ability to amuse and entertain. He was also a talented singer, and today I discovered that, not only was he a songwriter, but he actually wrote the words of Dame Vera Lynn's incredibly famous WWII song "The White Cliffs of Dover".

Norman's films are the only ones allowed to be shown uncensored in Albania - almost the only films to be shown there at all - and he has been a huge star and a hero there, almost a god in this officially atheist nation, for years. When he visited there he was mobbed.

Here he is singing his signature tune in the film it featured in, from the film, "Trouble in Store".

There are lots of scenes from his film on YouTube for anyone who wants to see more.

In his later years, Norman turned to serious acting, and put in some acclaimed performances, including on Broadway. He was Knighted by the Queen in 2000, and shocked, then delighted, everyone by doing his trademark trip after receiving the award.

Norman died yesterday aged 95 in a nursing home on the Isle of Man, an island off the west coast of England. It's the end of an era.


JoJo said...

I'm sorry to hear that another entertainer from your youth has passed. It's going to be pretty rough over the next few years as the rest of the rock & rollers start passing away. :(

I'd never heard of Sir Norman though. Guess his stuff isn't popular over here!

SnarkAngel said...

Sounds like a truly amazing individual, Val. Sorry to hear of his passing, but at least he lived a long and rewarding life, despite his difficult childhood.

Frances said...

Rest In Peace, Norman.

I was a great fan of his movies growing up.

I am as amazed as you on learning he wrote "The White Cliffs of Dover".

Anonymous said...

A life well lived methinks.

Eliza said...

I was reading in the paper that he wants his headstone to read' Ee he was old'..funny to the end :-)

I grew up watching his films..they seemed to be on every day in the school holidays back then.

potzina said...

An another bad information! Thanks for the video, I like this kind of movie.

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