Best Film Carry On Doctor Best Character Francis Bigger in Carry On Doctor Silliest Name Professor Tinkle in Carry On Up the Jungle Films 2 - Doctor, Up the Jungle Best Line In Doctor, whilst lying on his stomach, a nurse enters with a daffodil in her hand and he says "Oh no you don't, I saw that film", (referring to Carry On Nurse when Wilfred Hyde-White has his temperature taken with a daffodil, as revenge for being an awkward patient.
Born Francis Alick Howard, on March 6th 1917 in York, England to Francis William and Edith Howard. He grew up in the poorer area of York and eventually moved to Eltham in London when he was a young child where he was educated at Shooters Hill Grammar School.
He first appeared on stage at the age of 13 and failed an audition for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He sidestepped into the entertainment world through ENSA (Entertainments and National Service Association in the Army) in World War II to entertain the British Troops and it was at this time he changed his name to Howerd. He suffered at that time, and continued to suffer, from stage fright. He was heard on radio in late 1947 debuting on the BBC's Variety Bandbox programme and he started touring the Music Hall circuit and developed his unique style of delivery and catchphrases. This was helped by quality material written by Eric Sykes, Galton and Simpson and Johnny Speight.
In 1954 he made his big screen debut in the Runaway Bus which was specifically written for his style of comedy. He's always been comfortable with different genres of the entertainment industry - live stage show, TV, films, variety, etc. He has had film and TV shows written specifically for his style of comedy (eg Frankie Howerd Reveals All and Up Pompeii).
Throughout his career, Howerd hid his homosexuality due to it being illegal in England and Wales until 1967 and he became quite paranoid throughout his life about the public and his family finding out. In 1958 he met his partner-to-be, Dennis Heymer, and became his partner and manager for well over 30 years and, in fact, was with Howerd up to his death.
Frankie has appeared in two major roles in the Carry Ons, both replacing Kenneth Williams when he wasn't available for the roles. One was as Francis Bigger, the faith-healer who ‘forgot to think for a moment’ and hurt his back in Doctor. The other was in Up The Jungle where he gives a memorable performance as Professor Tinkle, who travels to deepest Africa with the rest of the party looking for the legendary Oozalum bird. With his unique stand-up style of Oohs and Aahs, he had re-created a new audience for himself in the 80’s. He once said that the Carry Ons meant more to the general public then Shakespeare and weaves his own personality into the fabric of the Carry On genre.
Although he is in the Carry On Regulars section of this website but only in two Carry On films, it was decided that his public profile always associates him with the Carry On films.
He was awarded an OBE in 1977 for his work for charity and in 1983 he suffered an accident which physically impaired him somewhat. Died April 19, 1992 (age 75) in London, England.