Fred Karno

Infobox performer
bgcolour =
name = Fred Karno


imagesize =150px
caption =
birthname = Frederick John Westcott
birthdate = birth date|1866|03|26
location = Exeter, England
deathdate = death date and age|1941|09|18|1866|03|26
deathplace =
othername =
homepage =
genre = Music hall comedian & theatre impresario
spouse = Edith 1889-1927(d)
Marie Moore 1927-1941

Frederick John Westcott (March 26, 1866 - September 18, 1941), best known by the stage name Fred Karno, was a theatre impresario of the British music hall.

Karno was born in Exeter, England, in 1866. A slapstick comedy pioneer, Karno is credited with inventing the cream-pie-in-the-face gag. Among the young comedians who worked for him were Charlie Chaplin and Arthur Jefferson, who would later adopt the name of Stan Laurel. These were part of what was known as "Fred Karno's Army", a phrase still occasionally used in the UK to refer to a chaotic group or organization.

With the advent of cinema, the music hall's popularity declined. As a result of this decline, Karno went bankrupt in 1926, and his wife Edith, from whom he had been separated since 1904, died a year later of diabetes - passing away in her sleep on May 24, 1927. Three weeks later, Karno married his longtime mistress Marie Moore.

He died of diabetes at the age of 75.

His houseboat, the Astoria, on the River Thames at Hampton, Middlesex, is now used as a recording studio by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.

External links

* [http://www.richmond.gov.uk/depts/opps/eal/leisure/libraries/history/notes/07.htm Richmond upon Thames Libraries' page]
* [http://www.marketingreinforcements.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/index_fredkarno.html Fred Karno, Tagg's Island and the Astoria]
* [http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/sherwoodtimes/karno.htm Fred Karno biography]
*imdb name|id=0439833


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