Dave King (actor)

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Photo montage of King from a 1959 Kraft Music Hall appearance.

Dave King (23 June 1929 – 15 April 2002)[1] was an English comedian, actor and vocalist of popular songs.[2] He is perhaps best remembered as the corrupt policeman 'Parky' in the British gangster film The Long Good Friday (1980).[3]

Life and career[edit]

Born David Kingshott[3] in Twickenham, Middlesex, England, King left school aged 12 and joined the Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang at 15.[4] He did his National Service in the RAF and was in the unit's repertory company; on being demobilised, he returned to variety and later became a solo act. An appearance on Television Music Hall led to his compering Show Case and being given a monthly series on the BBC in 1955.[5] The next year he turned to singing, while continuing to perform on television. During the seaside summer season of 1956 he performed at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. He starred in The Dave King Show.[6] During the 1950s he also starred in the same show alongside Shani Wallis.[7] In 1958, King moved to ITV with The Dave King Show[4] which was song, dance and comedy with famous guests of the day.

King scored four hits on the UK Singles Chart in the middle of the 1950s. The biggest were "Memories Are Made of This (No. 5, 1956) and "You Can't Be True to Two" (No. 11, 1956), both of which featured a backing group called the Keynotes. He also charted with "Christmas and You" (No. 23, 1956) and "The Story of My Life" (No. 20, 1958).[8] He appeared on Decca Records' All Star Hit Parade charity record in 1956 along with other major Decca artists Dickie Valentine, Joan Regan, Winifred Atwell, Lita Roza and David Whitfield. That record charted at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart.

In 1959, he went to the United States and hosted the country's high-profile[1] Kraft Music Hall on 19 occasions,[2] but otherwise had limited success despite Mel Brooks joining his regular writers Sid Green and Dick Hills.[4] On returning to the United Kingdom, he found that the public's taste in comedy had changed. Dave's Kingdom ran on ITV in 1964, again made by ATV, but was less successful than King's earlier TV work.[4] King became a straight actor with some success,[5] starring in the films Pirates of Tortuga (1961), Go to Blazes (1962), The Road to Hong Kong (1962), Strange Bedfellows (1965), Up the Chastity Belt (1971), The Ritz (1976), The Golden Lady (1979), Cuba (1979), The Long Good Friday (1980), Warren Beatty's Reds (1981) and Revolution (1985). He also appeared in a number of TV series including The Sweeney (episode: "Pay Off", 1976), Hazell (1978), Pennies From Heaven (1978), Minder (episode: "Gunfight at the OK Laundrette", 1979), The Professionals (episode: "Hijack", 1980), Rumpole of the Bailey (episode "Rumpole and the Blind Tasting" 1987), Coronation Street (1994–95) and as Aidensfield Station Master Roy Hutton in Heartbeat (episode: "Unfinished Business", 1995). The closing scene to the episode features King's character standing on the platform of Aidensfield Station whilst Memories Are Made of This plays in the background.

In the theatre he appeared in Arsenic and Old Lace, playing Mortimer Brewster, and in Teeth 'n' Smiles (1975/6).

He married a dancer, Jean Hart, and they had two daughters, Cheyenne and Kiowa. They lived in South Cerney in Gloucestershire. His hobbies included model railways and American folklore.

King died in London on 15 April 2002, aged 72.[2]


  1. ^ a b Obituary: Dave King, The Guardian, 18 April 2002
  2. ^ a b c Thedeadrockstarsclub.com – accessed March 2011
  3. ^ a b Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 410. ISBN 1-84854-195-3. 
  4. ^ a b c d Spencer Leigh Obituary: Dave King, The Independent, 18 April 2002
  5. ^ a b "Actor Dave King dies", BBC News, 17 April 2002
  6. ^ Theatre Programme, Winter Gardens Pavilion, Blackpool, 1956. Cyril Critchlow Collection, Blackpool Central Library, Vol. 48 p. 38.
  7. ^ Theatre Programme, "The Dave King Show", published by Ayre & Senior Limited, Blackpool, c1957.
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 302. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

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