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Wilfrid Brambell (1912-1985) (born March 22, 1912 in Dublin, Ireland; died January 18, 1985 in London, England, UK) was an Irish film and television actor, best known for his roles in the British television series Steptoe and Son and The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night.

His television career began during the 1950s, when he was cast in small roles in three Nigel Kneale / Rudolph Cartier productions for BBC Television: as a drunk in The Quatermass Experiment (1953), as both an old man in a pub and later a prisoner in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954) and as a tramp in Quatermass II (1955). All of these roles earned him a reputation for playing old men, though he was only at the time in his forties.

It was this ability to play old men that led to his casting in his most famous role, as Albert Steptoe, the irascible father Steptoe and Son. Initially the role was merely a one-off for the BBC's Comedy Playhouse anthology strand: however, its success led to a full series being commissioned, which lasted throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. There were also two feature film spin-offs, a stage show and an American re-make entitled Sanford and Son, based on the original British scripts. In the latter, Brambell's part was taken by Red Foxx.

The success of Steptoe and Son made Brambell a high profile figure on British television, and earned him the major role of Paul McCartney's grandfather in The Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night. A running joke is made throughout the film of his character being "a very clean old man." This is in reference to his on-screen son, Harold, in Steptoe and Son constantly referring to his father as "you dirty old man!"

Brambell had a difficult private life: he and Harry H. Corbett, who played Harold Steptoe in Steptoe and Son, detested each other, and were barely on speaking terms outside of takes by the end of the programme's run. In a series almost entirely based around the pair of them with no other regular characters, this made production of the series difficult and stressful.

Brambell was also a homosexual, at a time when it was very difficult, almost impossible, for public figures to be so. Indeed, when he first became famous for Steptoe and Son, it was still illegal in the UK. Earlier in his life he had been married, from 1948 to 1955, to Molly Josephine, but the marriage ended after she gave birth to the child of their lodger, Roderick Fisher, in 1953.

After the final series of Steptoe and Son was made in 1974, Brambell had some guest roles in films and on television, but both he and Corbett found themselves heavily type cast as their famous characters. In an attempt to take advantage of this situation, they undertook a tour of Australia in the late 1970s with a Steptoe and Son stage show: however, with the pair openly despising each other, the tour was a disaster and a working relationship proved impossible. On one occasion, Brambell used bad language and was openly derogatory about the Australian people in an interview. Brambell did, however appear on the BBC's television news to pay tribute to Corbett after the latter's death from a heart attack in 1982.

Brambell himself died less than three years later, of cancer. He was seventy-three. News of his death received far less attention than that of his co-star, and his funeral was sparsely attended.


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He was seventy-three. News of his death received far less attention than that of his co-star, and his funeral was sparsely attended. He was 89 years old when the series was filmed. Brambell himself died less than three years later, of cancer. He does not appear in any of the actual storylines. Brambell did, however appear on the BBC's television news to pay tribute to Corbett after the latter's death from a heart attack in 1982. Another short-lived series, this time a weekly comedy anthology program whose only connecting thread was George's presence as host. On one occasion, Brambell used bad language and was openly derogatory about the Australian people in an interview. Connie Stevens is, essentially, playing a version of Gracie's character.

In an attempt to take advantage of this situation, they undertook a tour of Australia in the late 1970s with a Steptoe and Son stage show: however, with the pair openly despising each other, the tour was a disaster and a working relationship proved impossible. George plays narrator in this short-lived series, just as he had in The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, but with far less on-screen time, as the focus is on a young couple played by Connie Stevens and Ron Harper. After the final series of Steptoe and Son was made in 1974, Brambell had some guest roles in films and on television, but both he and Corbett found themselves heavily type cast as their famous characters. An unsuccessful attempt to continue the format of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show without Gracie, the rest of the cast intact. Earlier in his life he had been married, from 1948 to 1955, to Molly Josephine, but the marriage ended after she gave birth to the child of their lodger, Roderick Fisher, in 1953. There were 292 episodes created in all. Indeed, when he first became famous for Steptoe and Son, it was still illegal in the UK. Starting in the third season, all episodes were filmed and broadcast weekly, 40 episodes per year.

Brambell was also a homosexual, at a time when it was very difficult, almost impossible, for public figures to be so. Broadcast live every other week for the first two seasons, 26 episodes per year. In a series almost entirely based around the pair of them with no other regular characters, this made production of the series difficult and stressful. This was George's response to a marked drop in ratings under the old "Flirtation Act" format. Corbett, who played Harold Steptoe in Steptoe and Son, detested each other, and were barely on speaking terms outside of takes by the end of the programme's run. This series featured a radical format change, in that George and Gracie played themselves as a married couple for the first time, and the show became a full-fledged domestic situation comedy. Brambell had a difficult private life: he and Harry H. this show featured musical numbers by jazz great Artie Shaw.

A running joke is made throughout the film of his character being "a very clean old man." This is in reference to his on-screen son, Harold, in Steptoe and Son constantly referring to his father as "you dirty old man!". Advertising a brand new product called "Spam". The success of Steptoe and Son made Brambell a high profile figure on British television, and earned him the major role of Paul McCartney's grandfather in The Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night. This series featured another wildly successful publicity stunt which had Gracie running for President of the United States. In the latter, Brambell's part was taken by Red Foxx. The pair launched themselves into national stardom with their first major publicity stunt, Gracie's ongoing search for her missing brother. There were also two feature film spin-offs, a stage show and an American re-make entitled Sanford and Son, based on the original British scripts. In their debut series, George and Gracie shared the bill with Guy Lombardo and his Orchestra.

Initially the role was merely a one-off for the BBC's Comedy Playhouse anthology strand: however, its success led to a full series being commissioned, which lasted throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. He believed he would be reunited with Gracie in Heaven. It was this ability to play old men that led to his casting in his most famous role, as Albert Steptoe, the irascible father Steptoe and Son. Burns faced death very bravely; he often said that in a way he was looking forward to it. All of these roles earned him a reputation for playing old men, though he was only at the time in his forties. He died forty three days after his 100th birthday in 1996. His television career began during the 1950s, when he was cast in small roles in three Nigel Kneale / Rudolph Cartier productions for BBC Television: as a drunk in The Quatermass Experiment (1953), as both an old man in a pub and later a prisoner in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954) and as a tramp in Quatermass II (1955). However, in 1994, Burns was badly injured in a fall and his health steadily declined.

Wilfrid Brambell (1912-1985) (born March 22, 1912 in Dublin, Ireland; died January 18, 1985 in London, England, UK) was an Irish film and television actor, best known for his roles in the British television series Steptoe and Son and The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night. Burns had long planned to celebrate his 100th birthday by performing in Las Vegas. On his relationships, he said, "I'd go out with women my age, but there are no women my age.". He never re-married, and though he developed a running joke of being a sexy senior citizen (he was often seen in the company of beautiful young women), he was never crude and his devotion to his wife was unquestioned up until his death. Burns remained deeply devoted to Allen after she passed away.

Burns continued to be active well into his nineties, writing a number of books and appearing in films and television. The film inspired two sequels. In 1977, Burns made another hit film Oh, God!, playing the title role opposite John Denver. Although he had not made a film since 1939 and had never really "acted" before, Burns won wide acclaim and an Academy Award for best supporting actor.

Burns had been lifelong friends with Jack Benny and Benny was originally slated to make the film, but after being diagnosed with cancer, he requested Burns get the role instead. Matthau and Burns played feuding comics reunited for a television special. After Allen's death, many considered Burns a "has been" until he co-starred with Walter Matthau in the 1975 movie adaptation of Neil Simon's hit play The Sunshine Boys. Gracie retired due to poor health in 1958 and died in 1964.

Burns teamed with his second wife Gracie Allen as "Burns & Allen"; they built their routines and their television sitcom around situations where she said (and did) ditsy things and he made wry comments as asides to the audience, often while brandishing a cigar or golf club. He was born as Nathan Birnbaum to Louis and Dorothy Birnbaum, the ninth of twelve children, in New York City, New York. George Burns (January 20, 1896 - March 9, 1996) was a legendary American vaudeville comedian who went on to work in movies, radio, and early television. George Burns Comedy Week: (1985) CBS.

Wendy and Me: (1958 - 1959) NBC. The George Burns Show: (1958 - 1959) NBC. The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show: 1950 - 1958 CBS. The Amm-i-Dent Toothpaste Show: 1949 - 1950 CBS.

Maxwell House Coffee Time: 1945 - 1949 NBC. The Swan Soap Show: 1941 - 1945 NBC, CBS. The Hormel Program: 1940 - 1941 NBC. The Hinds Honey and Almond Cream Program: 1939 - 1940 CBS.

The Chesterfield Program: 1938 - 1939 CBS. The Grape Nuts Program: 1937 - 1938 NBC. The Campbell's Tomato Juice Program: 1935 - 1937 CBS. The Adventures of Gracie: 1934 - 1935 CBS.

The White Owl Program: 1933 - 1934 CBS. The Robert Burns Panatella Show: 1932 - 1933 CBS. Radioland Murders (1994). 18 Again! (1988).

Oh, God! You Devil! (1984). Oh, God! Book II (1980). Going in Style (1979). Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978).

Sgt. Oh God! (1977). The Sunshine Boys (1975) (Oscar). The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956) (narrated).

Honolulu (1939). College Swing (1938). A Damsel in Distress (1937) (1st Fred Astaire movie without Ginger Rogers & 1st in which Burns and Allen danced). Here Comes Cookie (1936).

Love in Bloom (1935). We're Not Dressing (1934). Six Of A Kind (1934). Many Happy Returns (1934) (1st leading role).

International House ([[1933). College Humor (1933). The Big Broadcast (1932) (1st feature film). Lambchops (1929) (a "short" film).

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