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Sid James died on 26 April, 1976, aged 62 after suffering a heart attack while on stage. With his bulbous nose and gruff manner, he became a cult figure with his much-loved appearances in 19 Carry On movies during the 1960s and early 1970s. Roles in theTV comedyBless This House and in the radio and TV versions of Hancock’s Half Hour cemented his position as a household name. Joel Solomon Cohen was born on 8 May, 1913, in South Africa, ironically on Hancock Street in Johannesburg. Before he became an actor, he had an array of jobs including as a diamond cutter and a hairdresser. He met wife Berthe, also known as Toots, in a salon and they married in 1936. They divorced in 1940. Later marriages included Meg Sergei in 1943 and Valerie Assan in 1952. By now he was intent on seeking fame as an actor and arrived in Britain after the Second World War, where he had been a lieutenant in an entertainment unit. His first big comedy role was in The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) but in 1954 he started working withTony Hancockon his radio show Hancock’s Half Hour. James played a criminal who would invariably con Hancock and when the show moved to television, the pair were very much seen as a double act. After Hancock dropped Mr James, he returned to movies and joined the Carry On team. The characters he played were usually the lecherous Cockneys that had epitomised his earlier TV roles and he often had the name Sid or Sidney. Characters included Sidney Fiddler, Sid Carter, Sid Plummer and Sidney Bliss. He also played Sid Abbot in Bless This House. He suffered a heart attack in 1967 as he was poised to appear in Carry On Follow That Camel and was replaced byPhil Silvers. But he recovered to star in a string of sitcoms and more movies. He was on stage on the opening night of The Mating Season at the Sunderland Empire when he collapsed. The audience roared with laughter at first, thinking it was part of the act, but he had suffered another heart attack and died on the way to hospital. Sid James’ guttural laugh will forever remain embedded in the conscience of British comedy. His trademark cackle has been aped since he first burst on to our screens in the 1960s. But whether playing a loveable rogue or lecherous ladykiller, Mr James was also the consummate professional and was even nicknamed “One Take James” because he usually always got it right first time.
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Viewed by: 13962 visitors. Uploaded: 42 years ago
Published in: Online.
Published from: April 26, 1976.
Region: National
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Left by Danny :
10/06/2018
My favourite Actor of all time R.I.P Sidney James (Solomon Joel Cohen)
Left by Danny : 10/06/2018
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Left by kevin locklin :
26/04/2018
The best British comedian ever. Still sadly missed. Passed away far to young. R.i.p Sid James.
Left by Kevin Locklin: 26/04/2018
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Left by Rob Mack :
22/04/2018
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