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George Formby, Sr.
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    (October 4, 1875-February 8, 1921)
    Born in Ashton-under-Lyne, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was James Booth
    Music hall performer
    Known for the character of John Willie, a stereotypical working-class Lancaster man
    Recorded the songs ‘John Willie, Come On,’ ‘One of the Boys,’ ‘Standing on the Corner of the Street’ and ‘Playing the Game in the West’
    Appeared in the film ‘No Fool Like an Old Fool’ (1914)
    Father of comedian George Formby, Jr.
    He started as a child singer in vaudeville, changing to comedy numbers when his voice broke.
    No copies of his one film are known to survive.
    The Times said of him, ‘His humour was often crude and always simple.’
    Growing up, he frequently had to sleep in the doorway because his mother was either out drinking or in police custody sobering up.
    The proudest moment of his career was being asked to give a command performance for King George and Queen Mary.
    Elements of his act, such as wearing oversized shoes on the wrong feet, were borrowed by Charlie Chaplin for his ‘Little Tramp.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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