Bruce Forsyth – In Profile

He’s not been in the best of health recently, but there can be no doubt that Sir Bruce Forsyth remains one of Britain’s greatest entertainers.

Here we take a look back at the career of a veteran entertainer, a man that has been on our screens since the 1950’s.  Sir Bruce Forsyth

Quick Bio:

Bruce Forsyth was born Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson in Victoria Road, Edmonton, Middlesex, the son of Florence Ada (née Pocknell) and John Thomas Forsyth-Johnson.

Forsyth attended the Latymer School.  After watching Fred Astaire in films aged eight, he decided he wanted to dance and so he trained in dance in Tottenham and then Brixton.

Too young for call up during the war, he did his National Service post war in the RAF.

His family owned a car repair garage in Victoria Road, Edmonton, and as members of the Salvation Army his parents played brass instruments and his mother was a singer. 

His great-grandfather Joseph Forsyth Johnson (1840–1906) was a landscape architect who worked in Russia, Ireland, and the United States.  His great-great-great-great-grandfather William Forsyth (1737–1804) was a founder of the Royal Horticultural Society and the namesake of the plant genus Forsythia.

Family Life

In 1953 he married his first wife Penny Calvert with whom he had three daughters.  After that marriage ended he married again in 1973 to Anthea Redfurn, with whom he would co-host his best remembered game show, The Generation Game.  Together they had two daughters.  They divorced in 1979.  Whilst judging Miss World in 1980, he fell in love with one of his fellow judges: former Miss World 1975, Wilnelia Merced.  They were married in 1983 and have a son.

Honours

Bruce Forsyth has earned an enormous amount of hounours and recognition over his career.  Here are some of the highlights:  Fellow of BAFTA. In 2009,  Royal Television Society Lifetime Achievement Award on 17th March 2009.  On 26th January 2011 he received the National Television Awards special recognition award.  Forsyth was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2006 New Year Honours.

After a long public campaign Forsyth was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to entertainment and charity.

Recent Times

After a glittering career of many years and standing down as full time host of Strictly, the star has not had much luck with his health.

In October 2015, he was rushed to hospital after falling at his home sustaining minor concussion and cuts and bruises.  November the same year he found himself back in hospital undergoing  surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, but was expected to make a speedy recovery.  As a result of his surgery, Forsyth had to pull out of his expected hosting of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.  However he did make a special video appearence.

Recovery from the operation has kept Brucie out of the spotlight for a time and in March 2017, he was back in hospital suffering from a severe chest infection.  Fortunately he was back at home four nights later.

Many sources believe that the veteran entertainer will not perform again, although those close to him say he will continue to rest and recover and has no plans to retire.

Career

These days Sir Bruce Forsyth is a household name, but he had to work his way up over many years.

He took his first footsteps into the entertainment world aged just 14, with a song, dance, and accordion act called “Boy Bruce, the Mighty Atom.” His first appearance with the act was at the Theatre Royal in Bilston, with The Great Marzo at the top of the bill.  a young Bruce made his television debut in 1939 as a child, singing and dancing on a talent show introduced by Jasmine Bligh, probably an episode of Come and Be Televised (BBC, 1939), broadcast from Radiolympia.

After the war, with the goal of joining Moss Empires theatres Bruce took to the stage again.  Working seven days a week he travelled the UK, doing summer seasons, pantomimes and circuses (with little success), here he became renowned for his strong-man act.  The act was interrupted by call-up papers for National Service when he was drafted into the Royal Air Force.

The hard work finally paid off when, in 1958, an appearance with the comedian Dickie Henderson led to him being offered the job of compère on Val Parnell’s weekly TV variety show: Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

He hosted the show for two years, followed by a year’s break, then returned for another year. His schedule of stage performances, which continued throughout the 1960s, forced him to give up the job of host.

King Of The Game Show

During his spell of hosting Sunday Night at the London Palladium as part of the show he hosted the 15-minute game show “Beat the Clock”.  This would lead to a career as TV’s most successful game show host.

Bruce has had an amazing career to date on both TV and Stage and in Films including a part in Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks.  We take a quick tour over his TV career, proof positive that here is a man who has brought laughter to millions.

 

 

 

 

Bruce kept up a hectic schedule of stage performances during the 60’s and returned to our TV screens in the 1970’s with this…

 

 

 

 

1976 Muppet Show

 

 

 

In 1978 Bruce left The Generation Game to present Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night on ITV

 

 

It lasted one season but remaining with ITV he began the first of three stints hosting Play Your Cards Right running from 1980 -87, 1994 – 99 and 2002 – 03.

 

 

 

in 1986 there was the US gameshow Bruce Forsyth’s Hot Streak and for ITV Thames between 1986-87 sitcom: Slingers Day.  In 1989 for ITV the first series of You Bet (sorry no clips could be found), who can forget Bruce’s forfeit as his own waxwork.

Back to the BBC, between 1990 and 1994 he hosted the return of The Generation Game and one series of game show Takeover Bid.

 

 

1995 – 2001 Bruce’s Price is Right

 

 

1997 An Audience With Bruce Forsyth

 

 

Who can forget that now legendary appearance on Have I Got News For You !

 

 

 

 

Coming right up to date with Strictly Come Dancing.

 

 

In 2011 after a long campaign by both the public and his fellow entertainers it was finally time to arise Sir Bruce Forsyth.

 

 

In 2013, Forsyth earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the male TV entertainer having had the longest career, calling it a “wonderful surprise”.

In 2014, after much speculation he announced his retirement from the Srictly Come Dancing live shows, after 10 years and 11 series as host.  Giving his reasons in an interview for Radio Times he said “I was beginning to feel a bit stale. It’s an awful thing to feel as a performer, that you’re not enjoying it as much as you should do and you’re not giving as much as you could.”

Despite stepping down, Bruce didn’t completely cut ties with Strictly.  He returned to present an annual Children In Need edition and the Christmas Specials

Christmas 2014 and Bruce is back on the box with Bruce’s Hall of Fame

 

 

Bruce: The Autobiography


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