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Liverpool Entertainers (Part Three)

Jean Hodgkinson, known by the stage name Jean Alexander (born 24 February 1926) in Toxteth, is a retired English television actress. Jean worked for five years as a library assistant in Liverpool before she began her acting career in 1949 at the Adelphi Guild Theatre in Macclesfield; she later worked in rep in Oldham, Stockport and York. During this time she worked as an actress, wardrobe mistress and stage manager. Her television debut was in the television police series Z-Cars. She first appeared in Coronation Street in 1961 as landlady Mrs Webb.She was best known to British television viewers as Hilda Ogden in the soap opera Coronation Street, a role she played from 1964 until 1987, and also as Auntie Wainwright in the long-running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine from 1988 to 2010. For her role in Coronation Street she received a 1987 BAFTA TV Award nomination for Best Actress. She retired from acting in 2012. She has lived for many years in Southport, Merseyside. Her film credits include Scandal (1989) and Willie's War (1994). In 2005 the UK TV Times poll voted her as the "Greatest Soap Opera Star of All Time". Her autobiography, The Other Side of the Street: The Autobiography of Jean Alexander, was published in 1989. Alexander has never married.

Leslie Dennis Heseltine, known as Les Dennis (born 12 October 1953) is a British comedian, television presenter and actor, best known as the presenter of Family Fortunes for 15 years from 1987 until 2002. He currently plays Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street. Les was born in Garston, His father worked in a betting shop after service in the Royal Navy during World War II and a period as a football player on the books of Liverpool F.C. (but did not play for the first team), whilst his mother worked in a factory. He attended the Stockton Wood and Joseph Williams primary schools and then Quarry Bank High School after passing the Eleven plus exam. He had a Saturday job in Burton's clothes store whilst still at school and started in entertainment as a stand-up comedian in working men's clubs. His first radio appearance was in 1971 on Stuart's BBC Radio Merseyside series Variety Time (the programs were taped in front of a live audience in Merseyside clubs). In 1974, he won "New Faces", an ITV talent show and appeared on numerous light-entertainment shows. In 1982, he joined as one of the team on Russ Abbot's Madhouse and The Russ Abbot Show before forming a comedy partnership with fellow impressionist Dustin Gee, which in turn led to a series of their own, The Laughter Show. Following Dustin's sudden and unexpected death on 3 January 1986, Les carried on The Laughter Show as a solo performer and became the third host of Family Fortunes for a fifteen-year run from 1987 to 2002.

His theatre work included Amos Hart in Chicago, Bill Snibson in Me and My Girl in the West End. He toured in Hairspray as Wilbur Turnblad alongside Michael Ball, Brian Conley and Michael Starke. He starred in the touring production of Legally Blonde The Musical playing the role of Professor Callahan. Dennis has appeared in Brookside, Merseybeat, Family Affairs, Casualty, the short-lived revival of Crossroads and Hotel Babylon. He first appeared on Coronation Street in March 2014 as Michael, who was caught by Gail Platt attempting to burgle her house. He returned as a full-time cast member in June 2014 after he apologized to Gail and the two have gone on to form a bond.

Anthony George Booth (born 9 October 1931, later known as Tony and Antony) he was born into a working class family in Jubilee Road, Liverpool. His father was a merchant seaman during World War II; his mother was of Irish descent. He attended St Edmund's Infants School and spent a year in hospital as a child with diphtheria. He then passed the 11 plus examination and attended St. Mary's College, Crosby, where he was awarded a bursary to cover the cost of his books.

His hopes of being able to progress to university were dashed when he had to leave school and get a job after his father was badly injured in an industrial accident. He then worked as a clerk in a docklands warehouse and at the United States Consulate in Liverpool, before being called up for national service with the Royal Corps of Signals. He developed a taste for acting when posted in the Army to SHAPE in Paris. He spent five years honing his acting skills in repertory theatre, before venturing into films and television in the 1960s. He appeared in the popular British television series Coronation Street in 1960 and in an episode of The Avengers, but it was his role as the left-wing son-in-law in Till Death Us Do Part (1965) that brought him recognition. From a working-class background, he is a strong supporter of the Labour Party. He has served as president of Equity, the actors' union. He has been married four times and has eight daughters. By his first wife Gale Howard he has two daughters, including Cherie, a prominent Queen's Counsel, who is married to former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Booth suffered a stroke in 2010. He has suffered from Alzheimer's disease since 2004.

Derek Robert Nimmo (19 September 1930 – 24 February 1999) was an English character actor, producer and author. He was born in Liverpool and was educated at Booker Avenue Infants and Junior School as well as Quarry Bank High School and began his stage career at the Hippodrome Theatre in Bolton, Lancashire. It was during this time that he made a cameo appearance in the Beatles' film, A Hard Day's Night (in which he appeared as "Leslie Jackson", a magician with doves). He appeared in a number of British films and television series, as aristocrats, including starring roles in the television comedy series The World of Wooster (as "Bingo Little"), and in the comedy film One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (as "Lord Southmere"), as well as appearing in the James Bond spoof film Casino Royale. Derek Nimmo made his name as the Reverend Mervyn Noote in the British sitcom All Gas and Gaiters (1966). By the time the series finished, Nimmo was identified with the stereotype of a traditional British clergyman and he went on to play a bungling monk in another BBC clerical sitcom, Oh, Brother! and its sequel series Oh, Father! in 1966, he appeared in the second series of The Bed-Sit Girl.  Derek Nimmo appeared on stage in many West End plays and starred in the musical Charlie Girl, which contained a scene specially written to allow him to perform his party trick of wiggling his toes. He also became a regular panelist on the popular BBC radio show Just a Minute, and had a chat show on BBC Television, If It's Saturday, It Must Be Nimmo, from 24 October to 19 December 1970.

He married Patricia Brown in 1955; they had three children, Amanda, Timothy and Piers. In December 1998, Nimmo attended a National Treasures celebrity lunch in the boardroom of the Daily Express newspaper along with Sir Peter O'Sullevan, Joan Collins, Dame Beryl Bainbridge, Dickie Davies and Sue MacGregor amongst others.

He had recently returned from a Middle East tour of Run For Your Wife and was in sparkling form. After lunch he asked to be driven to the Garrick Club for further refreshment, and then returned to his Kensington home. He and his wife later went out to dinner. On their return, Nimmo was checking an external alarm when he lost his footing and fell down a stone staircase into the basement. He suffered head injuries and was taken to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where he remained in a coma until his death in February 1999.

He is buried in the churchyard at Easton Maudit, a small rural village in Northamptonshire where he kept a home.

Rita Tushingham (born 14 March 1942) is an English actress best known for her starring roles in 1960s films including A Taste of Honey, The Knack …and How to Get It, Doctor Zhivago and Smashing Time. Rita Tushingham was born in LiverpoolAt the time of Rita Tushingham's birth, at Oxford Street Maternity Hospital, on March 14, 1942, the family lived on Ryegate Road in Garston and they moved later to Hunts Cross.

At the time of her birth "Rita's father was the proprietor of Tushingham's Grocery (eventually he had 3 stores) at the corner of Garston Old Road.She grew up in the Hunt's Cross area and attended the Heatherlea school in Allerton, the La Sagesse convent school in Grassendale and then learnt shorthand and typing at secretarial school.  She wanted to be an actress from an early age and trained at the Shelagh Elliott-Clarke school before working backstage as an assistant stage manager at the Liverpool Playhouse. Her screen debut was in A Taste of Honey (1961). Other performances included Girl with Green Eyes (1963), The Leather Boys (1964),The Knack …and How to Get It (1965), Doctor Zhivago (1965), The Trap (1966), Smashing Time (1967), The Bed Sitting Room (1969) and The 'Human' Factor starring George Kennedy and John Mills (1975). She also co-starred as Margaret Sheen in the TV film Green Eyes (1977), the touching story of a Vietnam vet who returns to Southeast Asia after the war to find his son. Recent roles include the film Being Julia (2004), starring Annette Bening, and on television in "The Sittaford Mystery" (2006), an episode of Marple. She most recently appeared in Season 2 of the BBC 3 zombie drama In The Flesh as Mrs Lamb, broadcast in May 2014.

Rita married photographer Terry Bicknell in 1962. They had two daughters, Dodonna and Aisha Bicknell. In 1981, she married Iraqi cinematographer Ousama Rawi, spending eight years in Canada with him. She now divides her time between Germany and London, with her partner since the mid-1990s, writer Hans-Heinrich Ziemann. n July 2009, Tushingham received an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University for "outstanding and sustained contributions to the Performing Arts."



Robert F Edwards

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