BENNY HILL Biography - Other artists & entretainers


Biography » other artists entretainers » benny hill


Name: Alfred Hawthorn Hill                                                             
Born: 21 January 1924 Southampton, England                                             
Died: 18 April 1992 Teddington, England                                                 
Alfred Hawthorn Hill ( 21 January 1924 - April 18, 1992), better known as Benny         
Hill, was a prolific English comic, actor and singer, best known for his               
television programme, The Benny Hill Show.                                             
Alfred "Alfie" Hill was born in Southampton, where he and his brother attended         
Tauntons School. During the Second World War Hill was one of the scholars               
evacuated with the school to Bournemouth School, East Way, Bournemouth. After           
leaving Tauntons School, Hill worked variously as a milkman in Eastleigh, bridge       
operator, driver and drummer, before he finally got a foot in the door of the           
entertainment industry by becoming an assistant stage manager. Inspired by the 'star   
comedians' of British music hall shows, Hill set out to make his mark in show           
business. For the stage, he changed his first name to 'Benny', in homage to his         
favourite comedian, Jack Benny. Hill began appearing at working men's clubs and         
Masonic dinners before graduating to nightclub and theatre jobs. Hill auditioned       
for Soho's famed Windmill Theatre (home of Revudeville, a popular show of               
singers, comedians and nude girls), but he was not hired. Benny's first job in         
professional theatre as a performer was as Reg Varney's straight man, beating a         
then-unknown Peter Sellers for the role.                                               
Hill's health began to decline in the early 1990s. He suffered heart problems,         
and on 11 February 1992, doctors told him that he needed to lose weight, and           
recommended a heart bypass. He declined, and was diagnosed a week later with           
renal failure.                                                                         
Benny Hill died on or about 18 April 1992 (Easter weekend), alone in his flat at       
7 Fairwater House, Twickenham Road, Teddington, at the age of 68. On 21 April,         
concerned neighbours had called the police, who then found Hill, deceased,             
sitting in his armchair in front of the television. On the day that Benny Hill         
died, a new contract arrived in the post to him from Central Independent               
The cause of death was listed as coronary thrombosis. (His death closely               
coincided with that of another British comedy icon, Frankie Howerd, who died on         
19 April aged 75). Ironically a canned obituary appeared in a couple of                 
newspapers on 20 April, with Hill (whose death was yet to be discovered) saying         
that he and Howerd were "Great friends". This has led to much confusion as to           
which of the two died first.                                                           
He was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery near his birthplace in Southampton. In             
October 1992, following rumours that he was buried with large amounts of gold           
jewellery, an attempt was made by thieves to exhume his body. However, when             
authorities looked into his open coffin the following morning, there was no             
treasure within it, and consequently, only the culprits know for sure whether           
anything valuable was inside. Hill was re-buried with a new coffin lid and a           
solid slab placed across the top of the grave. These circumstances were similar         
to those of Romy Schneider after her burial.