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Sixteen Year Bender: Carry On Charles Hawtrey

Sixteen Year Bender: Charles Hawtrey
From the Headpress book Fallen Stars: Tragic Lives & Lost Careers

by Julian Upton

Read by Sarah Coutts

The highs and lows of Charles Hawtrey's life and career are, on the surface, comparable to that of his Carry On colleague, Kenneth Williams. Both performers were, more so than Sid James, the true, long-serving comic staples of the entire Carry On series, from its gentle beginnings in the fifties to the smutty vulgarity of the seventies. (Hawtrey appeared in a whopping twenty-three Carry Ons; Williams stayed around to make twenty-seven.) And offscreen, significantly, Hawtrey and Williams were unfulfilled, lonely men. They were both homosexual - albeit to very different degrees of practice - when it was much less acceptable to be so; both were rather fond of the sauce; both were given to wildly inappropriate behaviour in situations that demanded some social restraint; and, tragically, both were apparently imbued with a terminally self-destructive streak. And, in 1988, they died within six months of each other.

But it is where Hawtrey differs from Williams that is most revealing.


Image cover fallen stars Fallen Stars: Tragic Lives & Lost Careers by Julian Upton probes the underside of fame to reveal a host of glittering careers stunted by ill-health, alcoholism, drug addiction and egomania. More about this item»


 
10-Jun-2010
 
charles hawtrey  , fallen stars  , julian upton  , carry on  , sid james  , radio
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