Ernie Wise:
Born On The: 27th November 1925.
Died On The: 21st March 1999.
Birthplace: Morley, Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Occupation(s): Comedian and Actor.

Zodiac: Born under the Star Sign SagittariusSagittariusWhat Star Sign are You?

Achievement(s): The Morcambe and Wise comedy duo.
He was appointed an OBE - Officer of the Order of the British Empire - in the 1976 New Year Honours list.


Ernie Wise OBE, born Ernest Wiseman, was a comedian best known as one half of the comedy duo Morecambe and Wise, which became an institution on British television, especially for their Christmas specials; he changed his name, as did his future partner, to go into show business.

He entered the entertainment industry in 1933, appearing as an actor and singer in music hall with his father Harry; they appeared together under the name "Bert Carson and his Little Wonder"; he started making solo appearances, singing, dancing and telling jokes in 1936 and in the autumn of 1938 he came to the attention of Bryan Michie, a leading talent spotter, who recommended him to the impresario Jack Hylton.

In 1940, the year he first met Eric Morecambe, then known as Eric Bartholomew, he appeared with British comedian Arthur Askey in his Band Waggon radio show, billed as Britain's Mickey Rooney; gradually, Wise and Morecambe formed a close friendship and in 1941 they began their comedy double act, which was to last until Morecambe's death in 1984.

They made their début together as "Bartholomew and Wise", on the 28th August 1941 at the Liverpool Empire; a change of name followed in the autumn after agreeing that the combination of their respective birthplaces, Morecambe and Leeds, would make the act sound too much like a cheap day return, so they settled on 'Morecambe and Wise'.

During World War II, Morecambe was a Bevin Boy, working down a coal mine at Accrington and Wise served in the Merchant Navy, from the end of 1943; they were reunited after the war and made their name in radio, transferring to television in April 1954, in their first series, Running Wild, which was a disaster, but in 1961 they gained their own series on ATV, which was a success and raised their profile before transferring to the BBC in 1968.

Wise was commonly regarded as the straight man of the partnership, although his role gradually and subtly changed over the years; when Eddie Braben took over as their chief writer, he enriched Wise's persona by making him pompous and naive and Wise's character changed from being a conventional straight man into a pretentious and self-satisfied idiot.

Braben also made Wise a would-be writer; their BBC shows in the 1970s would always climax with an extended sketch, introduced by Wise as "a play what I wrote."; it was in such a 'play' that Glenda Jackson, at the height of her career, was made to speak the line "All men are fools, and what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got."

Wise appeared regularly as a panellist on the ITV revival of the popular panel show What's My Line? He was a guest several times on Countdown, had a gardening column in the News of the World newspaper and also appeared in several West End plays; he gave talks on cruises about his life as half of one of the most successful and popular comedy double acts of all time; in 1990, he wrote his autobiography, Still On My Way to Hollywood; his 1992 Christmas single was a recommended retail release in Music Week.

Wise suffered a second minor stroke in August 1995 and as a result, announced his retirement from show business on the 27th November 1995, his 70th birthday; he was married to the dancer Doreen Blythe from the 18th January 1953 until his death on the 21st March 1999.

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