British comedian Norman Collier, best known for his faulty microphone act, has died at the age of 87, as his daughter confirmed today.
Norman Collier, who had Parkinson’s disease and was living in a nursing home near his hometown of Hull in UK, died on Thursday.
A contemporary of Little and Large, with whom he often worked, Norman Collier rose to fame on the club circuit, getting his big break on the Royal Variety Show.
“It’s kept me in good health, making people laugh. And it’s kept them in good health too,” Norman Collier said in 2009.
The eldest of eight children, Norman Collier was born in Hull on Christmas day in 1925, and once joked there were “five of us sleeping in one bed”.
After serving as a gunner in World War II, he worked as a laborer but turned to comedy in 1950 after a one-off stint at his local Perth Street Social Club.
Norman Collier quickly drew a popular following on the northern club circuit, but it was his debut at the 1971 Royal Variety Performance that brought him to wider attention.“Unknown comedian Norman Collier won a standing ovation for his act in the Royal Variety Show,” wrote the Daily Express, of his critically acclaimed turn.
“Norman turned out to be one of the big successes of this year’s Royal Knees-up,” added the Daily Mirror.
Norman Collier went on to make regular appearances on television and at theatres across the UK in the 1970s and 80s, and is arguably best remembered for his act featuring an intermittently working microphone – and his chicken impression.
He was also a frequent pantomime performer, notably playing Widow Twanky opposite Little and Large at Hull’s New Theatre in Aladdin.
Norman Collier never moved to London – despite the lure of fame – preferring to stay in the local area surrounded by his family.