Norman Collier was born on Christmas Day, 25th December 1925 and couldn't understand why he didn't get two celebrations like the rest of his siblings!
His first big break came in 1963 when he was invited on the Cliff Richard Show in Manchester. A naturally funny man he jumped at the chance. After all, he'd had plenty of grounding augmenting his day job by working the clubs in the evening.
1971 saw him receiving the Bernard Delfont Award for Comedy at the Ace of Clubs. His consistent hard work and inventiveness paid off when, ten years later, television beckoned and he joined the Russ Abbott Madhouse in 1981. In 1986 he starred at Her Majesty's Theatre with Jimmy Tarbuck.
He toured the world with his 'chicken' routine (that 'character' was suggested by Lonnie Donegan). His faulty microphone routine, his duets for one - "When I'm calling you-who-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo" and "My Hero", his Jolsen character and, of course, his hilarious club secretary parody. He even threw in a bit of magic - who hasn't laughed at his newspaper, glass and water gag?
Wherever he went he played celebrity golf, raising thousands of pounds for charity and, wherever he went, his love of horse racing would also prompt him to have a bet on the horses - sometimes even winning!
Success followed success. His ability to invent characters on the spot;- To perform humour anywhere and everywhere;- Never swearing;- Never telling a tasteless joke;- Never picking on or embarrassing his audience and always being funny took him to the top of his profession.
Whilst he loved entertaining, he also loved his family back home. His beloved wife Lucy, whom he married at the age of 19, his children and his grandchildren mattered the most to him. Put simply he adored them all.
He passed over on the 14th March and at his funeral at St Helen's Church, Welton nr Hull, on Wednesday 27th March at 2pm he would have been thrilled to see so many showbiz faces - there to say a fond goodbye - Little and Large, Cannon and Ball, Roy 'Chubby' Brown, Jimmy Cricket, Jonnie Casson, Bernie Clifton, Freddie Davis, Roy Walker, Stu Francis, The Grumbleweeds, Tony Barton, Paul Squire, Peter Sandeman and Tony Peers.
He would also have been touched to hear his friends speak with such tremendous admiration and fondness of him. Tom O'Conner, Eddie Large (who shared six summer seasons and as many panto's with him), Russ Abbott and Roy Hudd all spoke of the man who was, and who will remain, our own endearing and extraordinarily funny Norman Collier.
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