Bill Waddington


Real name: William J Waddington
Born: 10 June 1916, Oldham, Lancashire
Died: 11 September 2000
Married:
  1. Evelyn
  2.  
  3. Lillian Day
  4.  
Children:
  1. Denise (m: Lillian Day)
  2. Barbara (m: Lillian Day)
Contact: c/o Granada Television

Played:

  1. Drunken Businessman
  2. Eric Summers (7 June 1978)
  3. George Turner (8 - 10 September 1980)
  4. Customer in The Kabin
  5. Percy Sugden (22 August 1983 - 20 October 1997)


Bill Waddington's father was a builder and his mother who owned seven butchers shops and a pub. Due to his mother being so busy with her business, he was partly fostered by a couple called Robinson until they died when he was seven. At 14, Bill left school to work in one of the butchers shops.

He had learnt to play the ukelele and his talent as a comedian was spotted when he was in the army during World War II - he was an NCO cook at the time. He joined the Blue Pencils, the first concert party recruited from the armed forces to entertain troops during the war. He later featured in the Stars in Battledress concert party and the radio show Ack Ack Beer Beer (1940), the first of over 800 broadcasts in variety and comedy programmes.

After the war, Bill continued his career as a stand up comedian, often appearing on the same bill as Jill Summers, and he topped the bill at the Royal Variety Performance before the Queen Mother in 1955. He also toured extensively with Frankie Laine, Lena Horne, Billy Daniels and Dorothy Lamour. His agent was Lou Grade who founded ATV, one of the first independant TV companies.

On TV, Bill has appeared in Family At War, Dear Enemy, Talent, Fallen Hero, The Mating Season, Cousin Phyllis and Second Chance. Bill didn't audition for the role of Percy - it was created specifically for him. The writers were aware of Bill's history of comedy roles, and wrote the part around him - in one autobiography Bill agrees that he and Percy have lots in common.

The role as Percy came just as Bill's stage partnership with Carry On star Sid James came to a halt due to Sid's sudden death and shortly after, Bill also lost his second wife, actress and singer Lillian Day, due to cancer. Working on The Street, Bill was able to renew his friendships with old music hall pals Betty Driver and Jill Summers.

Bill and Lillian owned a 150 acre farm and horse stud in Cheshire which he eventually sold, but until the year of his death still bred racehorses. The actor has written two books, The Importance of Being Percy in 1992 and Percy's War about the D-Day landings in 1994.

He died 11th September 2000 after suffering for several years with Parkinsons' Disease.
 



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