With ventriloquist dummy head modelled on his own, c.1900
|Born||Claud Conolly Cowan
Clapham, London, England
|Died||1 January 1955
Ashford, Middlesex, England
|Resting place||Golders Green Crematorium|
He played largely comic roles, first appearing in music hall acts and then moving to both film and radio comedies. Dampier usually appeared as a dim-witted 'silly ass' type, often billed as 'The Professional Idiot'. He was best remembered for his post-war Jewel and Warriss radio shows, where he adopted the catch-phrase "it's me-ee".
Dampier toured Australia with Edward Branscombe’s Dandies troupes between 1910 and 1917. He revisited the country in 1921, and starred in two Australian films before returning to England.
He married Australian actress Billie Carlyle (c1901-1991), who appeared as a 'straight-woman' in his act. They met whilst acting in the silent film The Adventures of Algy (1925). Carlyle later wrote a book, Claude Dampier, Mrs. Gibson & Me (1978). 'Mrs. Gibson' was Dampier's gimmick (apparently developed accidentally), a fictitious member of the audience with whom he spoke throughout his act.
He died in 1955 in London of pneumonia.
- Hullo Marmaduke (1924)
- The Adventures of Algy (1925)
- Mr. Stringfellow Says No (1934)
- Radio Parade of 1935 (1934)
- So You Won't Talk (1935)
- The White Lilac (1935)
- No Monkey Business (1935)
- Boys Will Be Boys (1935)
- Such Is Life (1936)
- All In (1936)
- Public Nuisance No. 1 (1936)
- King of the Castle (1936)
- She Knew What She Wanted (1936)
- Sing as You Swing (1937)
- Wanted! (1937)
- She Shall Have Music (1937)
- Riding High (1937)
- Don't Take It to Heart (1944)
- Let's Have a Murder (1950)
- Meet Mr. Malcolm (1954)
- "Claude Dampier". BFI.
- "Claude Dampier". vam.ac.uk.
- HistoryForSale Autographs: Authentic Autographs & Manuscripts. "HistoryForSale - Autographs and Manuscripts - Claude Dampier - Autograph Sentiment Signed - Document 160864". historyforsale.com.
- "' Top of the Bill ' CLAUDE DAMPIER". bbc.co.uk.
- Quinlan's Film Character Actors:David Quinlan
- "Practitioners [D]". Australian Variety Theatre Archive.
- "Claude Dampier, Mrs Gibson and me / by Billie Carlyle. - Version details - Trove". nla.gov.au.
- "Claude Dampier". comedy.co.uk.
- "Dorothy Dampier". BFI.
- "Claude Dampier (1879 - 1955) - Find A Grave Memorial". findagrave.com.
- Golders Green Crematorium information guide
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