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Norman Wisdom

Biography

British actor who obtained fame for the Norman Pitkin group of comedy films he produced between 1953 and 1966. Afterwards in his profession, he made an appearance in Last of the summertime Wines and Coronation Road. He worked within a marketing communications center for the United kingdom Army during Globe Battle II. He earned a BAFTA Prize for some Promising Newcomer in Film for his 1953 humor, Trouble WAITING FOR YOU. He was wedded to dancer Freda Isobel Simpson from 1947 to 1969. Charlie Chaplin once known as him his preferred clown.

Quick Facts


Full Name Norman Wisdom
Date Of Birth February 4, 1915
Died October 4, 2010, Ballasalla, Isle of Man
Place Of Birth England
Height 1.57 m
Profession Movie Actor
Nationality English
Spouse Freda Simpson, Doreen Brett
Children Nicholas Wisdom, Jacqueline Wisdom, Michael Wisdom
Parents Frederick Wisdom, Maud Wisdom
Siblings Frederick Thomas Wisdom
Awards BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles, British Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award for Stage
Nominations Tony Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical
Movies Trouble in Store, The Square Peg, A Stitch in Time, The Bulldog Breed, The Early Bird, On the Beat, Press for Time, One Good Turn, Man of the Moment, Up in the World, Follow a Star, Just My Luck, What's Good for the Goose, The Night They Raided Minsky's, There Was a Crooked Man, The Girl on the Boat, Five Children and It, The Sandwich Man, Double X: The Name of the Game, A Date with a Dream, Evil Calls: The Raven, As Long as They're Happy, Expresso
TV Shows Nobody Is Norman Wisdom, Between the Sheets, The Norman Wisdom Show, Norman
Star Sign Aquarius

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1In 1947 was in a Summer Season at Scarborough on a bill that included a conjuror who, having difficulty with part of his act, suggested that Norman come up on stage from the audience to assist him. That was when he bought his 'Gump Suit'.
2Made his stage debut at the Coliseum, Portsmouth.
3He was offered the role of Frank Spencer in the television series of 'Some Mother Do 'Ave 'Em' but had to turn it down due to other commitments.
4He won many awards including Comic of the Year four times, 2 Broadway awards, the Jersey Critics Award and a Silver Record for most novel records.
5It was announced this month that Expresso will be Sir Norman Wisdom's last film role. The short film also co-starred Geoffrey Hughes, Don Warrington, Guy Henry, Finty Williams, Vincent Franklin and Hong Hong star Richard Ng. The film was produced by Lastindependent.com and Martin Nigel Davey. Expresso has now been released on DVD with all the proceeds going to the UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support. [September 2007]
6(1996-) Tours with a one-man show - he's in his eighties and can still tumble & fall over as well as ever.
7Kirk Andrews, Isle of Man, England [June 2008]
8Played the part of a vicar who gets attacked by a fly in the film 'Expresso' by Martin Nigel Davey and Kevin Powis. Filmed on Location in Bromsgrove, UK. [January 2007]
9Semi-retired, lives in the UK's millionaires' hideaway of the Isle of Man.
10His favourite film was Trouble in Store.
11Left school at 13 and worked a variety of jobs including an errand boy, a coal-miner, a waiter, a pageboy and a cabin-boy before joining the Army.
12Born of very humble beginnings to Frederick, a chauffeur, and Maude Wisdom, a dressmaker. His mother left the family (which included a brother) when he was nine.
13His 1950s and 60s movies, where his working-class characters typically eventually overcame the oppressive management, were the only Western movies allowed into Albania by the Communist dictatorship of 'Enver Hoxha', who viewed them as a parable for the workers' struggle against capitalism. The Albanian people, however, loved his physical comedy and he became the best-known and loved Western artist in the country. Since the fall of Communism, Wisdom has been involved in much work supporting Albanian children's charities.
14He pledged to retire completely from show business by his 90th birthday on February 4, 2005. His final TV acting appearance was in the 2004 Christmas special of Last of the Summer Wine (1973).
15At 14, he left school and walked from London to Cardiff to find work and ended up as a cabin boy on a cargo ship to Argentina and was taught boxing by the crew which later led him to be a Flyweight Boxing Champion when he was in the army/.
16Tony Award nominee for Best Actor in a Musical for his Broadway show "Walking Happy", in 1967, the show itself being nominated for Best Musical, losing to "Cabaret".
17Pictured on a set of six Grenada $1.50 postage stamps issued 3 November 2002. Shown in the role of Norman Pitkin, which made him famous in a series of comedy movies.
18Though Norman lives on the Isle of Man he has choosen to continue to pay Tax at the UK rate, not the Isle of Man rates.
19Norman & Doreen had one son, Michael (born 1945), and Norman & Freda had two children, Nick Wisdom (born 1953) and Jaqui Wisdom (born 1954).
20British Prime Minister, John Major has been referred to as "the Norman Wisdom of Western democracy".
21Norman Wisdom Fan Club, PO Box 196, Hoddesdon, Herts, EN10 7WG, United Kingdom.
22The song "Don't laugh at me ('cause I'm a fool)" was written by Norman Wisdom for the film Trouble in Store (1953) and became his theme song. He still uses it to close his one man show.
23Lifetime Achievement Award, British Comedy Awards 1992
24He is the national comedy hero of Albania.
25He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1995 Queen's Birthday Honours List and became a Knight Bachelor in the 2000 Queen's New Year Honours List for his services to Entertainment.
26Is famous for not being able to complete a joke before bursting into fits of laughter
276th June 2000: Awarded a Knighthood by the Queen, he deliberately tripped as he left the ceromony. The Queen was reported as being very amused by his antics! Norman Wisdom stated: "I couldn't help it, I did a little trip"


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Labrats2010VideoScaredy (voice)
The Legend of Harrow Woods2008VideoWinston Llamata
Expresso2007ShortThe Vicar (Buzz) (as Sir Norman Wisdom)
Last of the Summer Wine1995-2004TV SeriesBilly Ingleton / Man carrying gnome
Five Children and It2004Nesbitt
Coronation Street2004TV SeriesErnie Crabb
Between the Sheets2003TV Mini-SeriesMaurice Hardy
The Last Detective2003TV SeriesLofty Brock
Dalziel and Pascoe2002TV SeriesBernie Marks
Casualty1998TV SeriesMr. Cole
Double X: The Name of the Game1992Arthur Clutten / Maurice Rigby
Bergerac1983TV SeriesVincent
BBC2 Playhouse1981TV SeriesBernard Flood
Hudson & Halls1976TV SeriesGuest
A Little Bit of Wisdom1974-1976TV SeriesNorman
Nobody Is Norman Wisdom1973TV SeriesNobody
Norman1970TV SeriesNorman Wilkins
What's Good for the Goose1969Timothy Bartlett
The Night They Raided Minsky's1968Chick Williams
Androcles and the Lion1967TV MovieAndrocles
Press for Time1966Norman Shields / Emily, his mother / Wilfred, his grandfather (the P.M.)
The Sandwich Man1966Boxing Vicar
The Early Bird1965Norman Pitkin
A Stitch in Time1963Norman Pitkin
On the Beat1962Norman Pitkin / Giulio Napolitani
The Girl on the Boat1962Sam Marlowe
The Bulldog Breed1960Norman Puckle
There Was a Crooked Man1960Davy Cooper
Follow a Star1959Norman Truscott
The Square Peg1958Norman Pitkin / General Schreiber
A Santa for Christmas1957TV Movie
Just My Luck1957Norman Hackett
Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium1957TV SeriesAladdin
Up in the World1956Norman
Man of the Moment1955Norman
As Long as They're Happy1955Norman - Cameo Appearance (uncredited)
One Good Turn1955Norman
Television Christmas Party1953TV Movie
Trouble in Store1953Norman
For Your Pleasure1953TV Movie
Television Christmas Party1952TV Movie
Norman Wisdom1952TV Movie
The Norman Wisdom Show1952TV Movie
BBC Sunday-Night Theatre1951TV SeriesMike Angelo
Vic's Grill1951TV Series
Cuckoo College1949TV MovieJanitor
Date with a Dream1948Shadow Boxer

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Last of the Summer WineTV Series performer - 1 episode, 2004 writer - 1 episode, 2004
Trojan Eddie1996writer: "Don't Laugh At Me 'Cos I'm A Fool"
The Time of Your Life1983TV Series performer - 1 episode
What's Good for the Goose1969performer: "What's Good for the Goose"
The Bulldog Breed1960performer: "What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor" - uncredited
Follow a Star1959"Follow a Star", "I Love You", "The Square Song" / writer: "Shepherd of the Dales" - uncredited
Up in the World1956"Up in the World" / performer: "Up in the World"
Man of the Moment1955"Beware" / performer: "Beware", "Yodelee Yodelay", "Dream For Sale"
As Long as They're Happy1955lyrics: "Don't Laugh At Me" - uncredited / music: "Don't Laugh At Me" - uncredited / performer: "Don't Laugh At Me" - uncredited
One Good Turn1955performer: "Please Opportunity", "Take A Step In The Right Direction" / writer: "Please Opportunity"
Trouble in Store1953lyrics: "Don't laugh at me 'cos I'm a fool" / music: "Don't laugh at me 'cos I'm a fool" / performer: "I want to put on record that I love you", "Don't laugh at me 'cos I'm a fool"

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Just Wisdom1986TV Movie documentary
Nobody Is Norman WisdomTV Series 4 episodes, 1973 writer - 2 episodes, 1973
What's Good for the Goose1969script
Press for Time1966screenplay
The Early Bird1965screenplay
A Stitch in Time1963screenplay
On the Beat1962screenplay
The Bulldog Breed1960original screenplay
Follow a Star1959original screenplay
The Square Peg1958original screenplay

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
What's Good for the Goose1969associate producer

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Expresso2007Short very special thanks

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Thora Hird Tribute2011TV MovieHimself
Wonderland2008TV Series documentaryHimself
British Film Forever2007TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
The Comedy Map of Britain2007TV Series documentaryHimself
Imagine2006TV Series documentaryHimself
The Story of Light Entertainment2006TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Countryfile2004TV SeriesHimself
30 Years of 'Last of the Summer Wine'2003TV Movie documentaryHimself (as Sir Norman Wisdom)
Living Famously2003TV Series documentaryHimself
Mike Baldwin & Me2001TV Movie documentaryHimself
Our House2001TV SeriesHimself - Guest
One Hit Wonderland2001TV Mini-SeriesHimself
This Is Your Life1973-2000TV Series documentaryHimself / Himself - Guest
Legends2000TV Series documentaryHimself
It's Only TV... But I Like It2000TV SeriesHimself
Pulling Power2000TV Series documentaryHimself - Guest
Heroes of Comedy1999TV Series documentaryHimself
Where on Earth Is... Katy Manning Because She'd Really Like to Know!1998Video documentaryHimself
Casualty 2501998TV Movie documentary
25 Years of 'Last of the Summer Wine'1997TV Movie documentaryHimself
An Audience with Bruce Forsyth1997TV MovieHimself
Paul Merton's Palladium Story1994TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Cue Here for Laughs with John Virgo1994VideoHimself
Clive Anderson Talks Back1993TV SeriesHimself
The South Bank Show1993TV Series documentaryHimself
Without Walls1993TV Series documentaryHimself
Surprise Surprise!1992TV SeriesHimself
I'm Not a Dentist But I Recognise This...1990ShortHimself
The Importance of Being Funny in America1987TV Movie documentaryGuest
Highway1987TV SeriesHimself
Just Wisdom1986TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Golden Gong1985TV Movie documentaryHimself - Interviewee
The Bob Monkhouse Show1983TV SeriesHimself
The Time of Your Life1983TV SeriesHimself
Night of One Hundred Stars1980TV MovieHimself
3-2-11979TV SeriesHimself - Special Guest Star / Merry Man
Tell Me Another1979TV SeriesHimself
Looks Familiar1977TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Night Out at the London Casino1977TV SeriesHimself
Saturday Night at the Mill1977TV SeriesHimself
The Ernie Sigley Show1975TV SeriesHimself
Stars on Sunday1971TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Ed Sullivan Show1967-1971TV SeriesHimself - Comedian / Comedian / Musician
The Good Old Days1970TV SeriesHimself - Performer
The David Frost Show1970TV SeriesHimself
The Mike Douglas Show1967-1970TV SeriesHimself - Actor / Singer / Himself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1970TV SeriesHimself
Sandler and Young's Kraft Music Hall1969-1970TV SeriesHimself
The Peapicker in Piccadilly1969TV MovieHimself
Della1969TV SeriesHimself
The 21st Annual Tony Awards1967TV SpecialHimself - Performer
Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium1955-1961TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Top Of The Bill
The Royal Variety Show1960TV MovieHimself
This Is Your Life1957TV Series documentaryHimself
Alan Melville Takes You from A-Z1957TV SeriesHimself
Off the Record1955-1957TV SeriesHimself
The Norman Wisdom Show1956TV SeriesHimself
Crackerjack!1956TV SeriesHimself
Film Fanfare1956TV SeriesHimself - Interviewee
Der Hauptfilm hat noch nicht begonnen...1954TV SeriesHimself
What's My Line1952TV SeriesHimself - Celebrity Challenger
Television Christmas Party1951TV MovieHimself - Comedian
Wit and Wisdom1950TV MovieHimself
Music-Hall1950TV SeriesHimself
Rooftop Rendezvous1949TV SeriesHimself
Wit and Wisdom1948TV MovieHimself
Variety1947TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Pinewood: 80 Years of Movie Magic2015TV Movie documentaryVarious Characters (uncredited)
Bruce's Hall of Fame2014TV MovieHimself
The Many Faces of...2013TV Series documentaryHerself
The Unforgettable Norman Wisdom2011TV Movie documentaryHimself
Wags of '662011TV Movie documentaryHimself
Norman Wisdom: His Story2010Himself
Breakfast2010TV SeriesHimself
Daybreak2010TV SeriesHimself
Stars on the Street2009TV Movie documentaryErnie Crabb (uncredited)
Room 1012007TV SeriesNorman
Bruce Forsyth's Comedy Heroes2005TV Movie documentaryHimself
Heroes of Comedy2002TV Series documentary
I Love Christmas2001TV Special documentary
Match of the Seventies1995-1996TV SeriesHimself
Kicking & Screaming1995TV Series documentaryHimself
The 1950's: Music, Memories & Milestones1988Video documentaryHimself
To See Such Fun1977DocumentaryHimself

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1997Special Achievement AwardLondon Critics Circle Film AwardsFor services to comedy.
1954BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsMost Promising Newcomer to FilmTrouble in Store (1953)


Looks like we don't have salary information. Sorry!


#Quote
1I've an idea for doing a Situation Comedy myself but its always difficult to get people to listen to you because they like to put their own ideas forward.
2Years ago, there was a variety theatre in every British town, and people paid to go down and see it. Comedy was the main part of the theatre, and comedians earned a living by being funny. Now you have comedy in television instead. Comedians now have to be funny within a play.
3In fact, one was so booked out we went from March and were to go till November, but the pantomime was booked so they transferred the show to the Prince of Wales Theatre because it was so packed out, and it ran on from there.
4My father used to be away for months at a time, and he'd never leave any money for food, so my brother and I had to go out and nick it.
5Don't get me wrong: I'm overjoyed with my career to date. But perhaps I could have done more. Mostly, I just did whatever the directors told me to do.
6When you're as famous as I am, stories take on a life of their own.
7What I like doing most is making children laugh.
8Most of my comedies were low on budgets - certainly by American standards.
9I've been making people laugh for 40 years, so I know how important it is!
10I have a folder where I keep all the articles the critics have written about me. It makes me feel good.
11I believe in physical comedy, because that reaches out most to people.
12Of course I've done musicals here in London.
13I must admit I like to muck around a bit; I always have.
14Well if I was going to describe my audience, it's going to take longer than you'd ever expect, hundreds of years in fact, because there's many of them, all over the world.
15My only phobia is untidiness. My hair has to be neatly kept; my shoes are always clean. Everything has to be in a straight line, in its place.
16I've been extremely lucky having been in the army when I was a boy of fourteen.
17I do play drums when I'm on tour.
18I'm still constantly thinking of ideas. I don't feel 90. I think I'm about 12.
19I've always had a sense of humour, and I still do, so I just want to go on performing as long as I can. It's as simple as that.
20You see I'm semi-retired now and don't work all the time, only most of it!
21There are people who like just ordinary comedy fun, and making mistakes - which I do easily - and then there are people who like the falling over.
22I've done seven shows at the Palladium - long running shows I'm talking about.
23I play drums, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, piano.
24I used to first go on to entertain an audience. But now I go, and this is really true - I go on to have fun with a crowd of my chums.
25All my boyhood, all I ever wanted was to be loved.
26You know I've got a chum, a smashing mate, he's got a dog with no legs, and he calls it a cigarette. It's true, yeah, because at nighttime he has to take it out for a drag.
27I owe everything to the army.
28I've got one idea I want to do for a film and you know I just enjoy myself doing bits and pieces.
29I was born in London, and went to school in Scotland - I used to be dead tired when I got home at night.
30My comedy is for children from three to 93. You do need a slightly childish sense of humour and if you haven't got that, it's very sad.
31I was in the band as a boy and was taught music and learned to compose.
32But no, I've just been very lucky. But I've worked hard, and the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get.
33I like consistency. If you've had a childhood like mine, you want some things you can rely on to stay the same.
34As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can't remember the other two.
35Such is life and life is such and after all it isn't much. First a cradle. Then a hearse. It might have been better, but it could have been worse.
36I was born in very sorry circumstances. Both of my parents were very sorry.
37I don't know nothing about communism. But I know the Albanians loved me. Same reason as anyone else loves me. Because I made them laugh.
38At my age, the radiation will probably do me good.
39It was smashing working with Jerry Desmonde, he was a very nice chap.
40It was absolutely thrilling to meet Laurel and Hardy, they were so nice.
41I had a great day filming Expresso (2007), every minute was worth an hour.
42"Mr Grimsdale!" (catch phrase when things went wrong)
43I can never tell a joke, I've always found it easier to just fall over

#Trademark
1In many of his films, he fell in love and spent the film trying to work on how to obtain a relationship
2His "gump" look - consisting of a tweed cap askewed with peak turned up, too-tight jacket, barely-better trousers, crumpled collar and tie awry.
3"The Gump" character in his ill-fitting suit and cloth cap
4Lop-sided grin Falling over

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