Leslie Sarony

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Leslie Sarony
Born Leslie Legge Frye
(1897-01-22)22 January 1897
Surbiton, Surrey, England
Died 12 February 1985(1985-02-12) (aged 88)
London, England
Photo of Wills's cigarette card from 'Radio Celebrities' series circa 1934- Leslie Sarony on right

Leslie Sarony (born Leslie Legge Frye 22 January 1897 – 12 February 1985) was a British entertainer, singer and songwriter. Sarony was born in Surbiton, Surrey and died in London.

Biography[edit]

Sarony was the son of William Henry Frye, alias William Rawstorne Frye, an Irish-born artist and photographer, and his wife, Mary Sarony, who was born in New York.[1]

He was christened as Leslie Legge Tate Frye in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Twickenham, on 5 May 1898.[2]

He began his stage career aged 14 with the group Park Eton's Boys. In 1913 he appeared in the revue Hello Tango.

In the Great War, Sarony served (as Private Leslie Sarony Frye) in the London Scottish Regiment and the Royal Army Medical Corps in France and Salonika, and was awarded the Silver War Badge.[3]

His stage credits after the war include revues, pantomimes and musicals, including the London productions of Show Boat and Rio Rita.

Sarony became well known in the 1920s and 1930s as a variety artist and radio performer. In 1928 he made a short film made in the Phonofilm sound-on-film system, Hot Water and Vegetabuel. In this film, he sang, interspersed with his comic patter, the two eponymous songs – the first as a typical Cockney geezer outside a pub, the second (still outside the pub) as a less typical vegetable rights campaigner ("Don't be cruel to a vegetabuel").

He went on to make a number of recordings of novelty songs, such as "He Played his Ukulele as the Ship Went Down", including several with Jack Hylton and his Orchestra. He teamed up with Leslie Holmes in 1935 under the name The Two Leslies. The partnership lasted until 1946. Their recorded output included such gems as "I'm a Little Prairie Flower".

His song "Jollity Farm" was covered by Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band on their 1967 album Gorilla.

Sarony continued to perform into his eighties, moving on to television and films. In the 1970s he appeared in hit programmes including the Harry Worth Show, Crossroads, Z-Cars, The Good Old Days, and The Liberace Show, as well as the famous sitcom Nearest and Dearest. He took over from Bert Palmer as the senile Uncle Stavely ("I heard that! Pardon?") in the fourth and final series of I Didn't Know You Cared in 1979.

In 1983 Sarony appeared as one of a number of elderly insurance clerks in the The Crimson Permanent Assurance segment of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

His sons are: Neville Sarony QC a prominent practising barrister and author (The Dharma Expedient) in Hong Kong, Peter Sarony is a successful gunsmith with a business in London and Paul Sarony is an independent film producer (Mrs. Brown, Hideous Kinky, Shine).

Selected filmography[edit]

Songs[edit]

  • "Don't Be Cruel to a Vegetabuel" (1928)
  • "I Lift Up My Finger (and I Say "Tweet Tweet")" (1929, Featured in Jeeves and Wooster)
  • "Jollity Farm" (1929)
  • "The Alpine Milkman" (1930)
  • "Rhymes" (1931)
  • "Ain't It Grand to Be Bloomin' Well Dead" (1932)
  • "Wheezy Anna" (1933)
  • "We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line"
  • "Flirtation Waltz" (1953)
  • "Forty-Seven Ginger-Headed Sailors" (1929, featured in Jeeves and Wooster)
  • "The Old Sow (Susannah's a funniful man)" 1935
  • "Jolly good company" ( A-side Eclipse record No. 122, Copyright Campbell, Connelly & Co
  • "Let's sing the song father used to sing" (B-side Eclipse record No. 122, Copyright Campbell, Connelly & Co)

"Bunkey-doodle-I-doh" was the B side of "Jollity Farm" by the International Novelty Orchestra on Zonophone 5513 (pressing no. 30-2138). "Jollity Farm" was pressing no. 30-2139.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. "Person Sheet". Retrieved 2014-04-03. 
  2. ^ London Metropolitan Archives, Baptisms Solemnized in the Parish of Twickenham (1898), p. 31
  3. ^ Army Medal Office, WWI Medal Index Cards; The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, England, Silver War Badge (reference RG WO 329, 2958–3255).

External links[edit]