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Tony Hancock
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    (May 12, 1924-June 24, 1968)
    Born in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
    Starred in the series 'Hancock's Half Hour' on BBC radio (1954-60) and television (1956-61)
    Appeared in the films 'Orders Are Orders' (1954), 'The Rebel' (1961), 'The Punch and Judy Man' (1962), 'Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines' (1965) and 'The Wrong Box' (1966)
    Committed suicide in Sydney, Australia, by overdosing on barbiturates and vodka
    During WWII, he twice failed auditions for ENSA -- the military entertainment organization -- when he froze on stage after being introduced.
    Even at the height of his success he would get dry heaves before a show.
    He was an insecure perfectionist.
    He unexpectedly ran off to Rome during the second season of his radio series, forcing Harry Secombe to substitute for him for three episodes.
    He was bitter that he never became a success in America.
    He fired co-star Sid James out of fear that James was getting more laughs, then a year later fired his scriptwriters, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson (1960-61).
    He divorced both his wives.
    Spike Milligan said of his suicide, 'I thought, he's got rid of everybody else, he's going to get rid of himself, and he did.'
    He served with an RAF ground crew during World War II.
    He was the highest-paid British TV performer of his day, earning £1,000 per half-hour episode.
    Scriptwriter Alan Simpson said, 'Every Friday night at 8 PM, the streets would be deserted for Hancock, then half an hour later everyone would go down the pub.'
    In a 2002 poll, BBC radio listeners named him their favorite comedian.

Credit: C. Fishel

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