George Formby

George Formby

English actor, singer-songwriter and comedian
One of the UK’s most popular entertainers in the 30s and 40s, both in films and as a straight singer.
BornMay 26, 1904
HometownWigan, England
Height5'11" (1.80m)
SpouseBeryl Ingham (m 1924 - 1960)
ParentsGeorge Formby Snr , Eliza Hoy
Profile

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The dark side of George Formby, a ‘dirty little Northern would-be Casanova’

  • George Formby still holds the record as Britain’s youngest professional jockey, making his debut at Lingfield Park in 1915, when he was just 10. For the remainder of the First World War, he raced in Ireland. His father invested in a prize horse called Philander for his son to ride. It would turn out to be a strangely prescient name: Formby kept his lecherous private life secret from a public who made him Britain’s most adored showbusiness star of the era. Formby, who raced under his birth name George Hoy Booth, quit racing after his 45-year-father died of pulmonary tuberculosis in February 1921, shortly after collapsing during a pantomime performance in Newcastle. The teenage Formby quickly decided to follow in his late father’s vaudevillian footsteps, copying parts of his act and adding his own skits as a blackface entertainer who sang minstrel songs and told jokes about parrots. His huge public popularity came later, when he finally invented his own popular persona as the cheeky ukulele-playing ‘Lancashire Toreador’. Now, 60 years after Formby’s death, it is hard to overstate the level of celebrity the singer-songwriter from Wigan achieved in the mid-20th century. His most famous record, Leaning On a Lamp-post, sold 150,000 copies in just over a fortnight in 1937. The public just could not get enough of him. Formby made 20 films between 1934 and 1946, when he was British cinema’s leading attraction. The contract he signed with Columbia Pictures in 1941 made him higher-paid than Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and Bette Davis. “He used to get about £35,000 a film – by modern standards that’s about £1,500,000. He was big time,” said lifelong fan Frank Skinner.

MOVIES & TV SHOWS

I Didn't Do It
I Didn't Do It
1h 37min
1945
Bell-Bottom George
Bell-Bottom George
1h 37min
1944
Turned Out Nice Again
Turned Out Nice Again
1h 21min
1972
Spare a Copper
Spare a Copper
1h 17min
1941
George Takes the Air
George Takes the Air
1h 14min
1940
To Hell with Hitler
To Hell with Hitler
1h 22min
1940
Come on George!
Come on George!
1h 28min
1940
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
1h 27min
1982
I See Ice!
I See Ice!
1h 24min
1944
No Limit
No Limit
1h 20min
1949
Off the Dole
Off the Dole
1h 29min
1935
Boots! Boots!
Boots! Boots!
1h 20min
1934

Albums

George Formby: The Vintage Collection
George Formby: The Vintage Collection
2012
My Ukelele And Me: The Best Of George Formby
My Ukelele And Me: The Best Of George Formby
2011
Window Cleaner
Window Cleaner
2008
George Formby
George Formby
2007
Leaning on a Lamp Post
Leaning on a Lamp Post
2007
War and Postwar Years
War and Postwar Years
2006
Best of George Formby [22 Tracks]
Best of George Formby [22 Tracks]
2005
Very Best of George Formby: 20 Great Songs [Prism]
Very Best of George Formby: 20 Great Songs [Prism]
2005
England's Famed Clown Prince of Song
England's Famed Clown Prince of Song
2004
Count Your Blessings
Count Your Blessings
2002
Turned out Nice Again [Castle]
Turned out Nice Again [Castle]
2002
When I'm Cleaning Windows [Hallmark]
When I'm Cleaning Windows [Hallmark]
2002
Let George Do It
Let George Do It
2001
Formby Favourites
Formby Favourites
2000
Ultimate Collection
Ultimate Collection
2000
When I'm Cleaning Windows [ASV/Living Era]
When I'm Cleaning Windows [ASV/Living Era]
1999
I'm the Ukelele Man
I'm the Ukelele Man
1998
It's Turned out Nice Again [Empress]
It's Turned out Nice Again [Empress]
1998
At the Flicks
At the Flicks
1997
That Ukelele Man!
That Ukelele Man!
1995
His Greatest Favourites
His Greatest Favourites
1995
When I'm Cleaning Windows [Single]
When I'm Cleaning Windows [Single]
1936