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Hawtrey, Charles (1914-1988)


Main image of Hawtrey, Charles (1914-1988)

On stage from 1925 and in London from 1927, in children's plays, the paper-thin, twittery Charles Hawtrey (real name Hartree) became famous for his participation in the Carry On series, where his camp behaviour and pursuit of the opposite sex lent sexual ambiguity to his persona.

His morning-dressed, mother-ridden traveller will clearly find Spain a liberating experience in Carry On Abroad (d. Gerald Thomas, 1972), though he is funnier in ...Constable (d. Thomas, 1960), as Constable Gorse.

In films since the early 1930s, he cut his teeth on several Will Hay comedies, including Good Morning Boys! (d. Marcel Varnel, 1937) and had made about 30 films, supporting other comedians, such as Benny Hill in Who Done It? (d. Basil Dearden, 1956), before finding his Carry On niche, which he finally deserted as a result of a row over billing.

In 2000, his blue-plaqued house in Deal was in the news when it came up for sale.

He is not to be confused with stage actor Charles Hawtrey who appeared in several silent films, including A Message from Mars (d. J.Wallett Waller, 1913).

Biography: Charles Hawtrey 1914-1988: The Man Who Was Private Widdle by Roger Lewis (2001).

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Cinema

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Canterbury Tale, A (1944)Canterbury Tale, A (1944)

Weird and fascinating tale of modern-day pilgrims in WWII

Thumbnail image of Carry On At Your Convenience (1971)Carry On At Your Convenience (1971)

Comedy about union unrest at the W.C. Boggs toilet factory

Thumbnail image of Carry On... Up the Khyber (1968)Carry On... Up the Khyber (1968)

Highly entertaining Empire spoof from the usual team

Thumbnail image of End of the River, The (1947)End of the River, The (1947)

Brazil-based melodrama starring Sabu as a young man accused of murder

Thumbnail image of Goose Steps Out, The (1942)Goose Steps Out, The (1942)

WWII comedy with Will Hay dropped behind enemy lines

Thumbnail image of Passport to Pimlico (1949)Passport to Pimlico (1949)

Cherished comedy in which a Pimlico street declares its independence

Thumbnail image of Simon and Laura (1955)Simon and Laura (1955)

Soap opera satire: a real-life couple plays a happier version of themselves

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Thumbnail image of Carry OnCarry On

Britain's longest-running big-screen comedy series

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