Sunday, July 07, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Stanley Holloway

Artist:Stanley Holloway w/Bob Chisholm and Alan Dudley
Song:With A Little Bit Of Luck
Album:My Fair Lady: Original London Cast

Stanley Holloway is probably best known for his performance as Eliza Doolittle's father Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady. But unlike Rex Harrison, Holloway had a long career in musical theater and could really sing. He was born Oct. 1, 1890 in London, England. As a teen he performed part time as Master Stanley Holloway: The Wonderful Boy Soprano while working at a local fish market. After two years as a soldier in the London Rifle Brigade, he began his stage career in 1910. Famed comedian Leslie Henson was his mentor and helped Holloway in his career. He enlisted in the service in WWI. After the war, Holloway started to establish himself on the London stage. He also made his film debut in 1921. The show The Co-Optimists got him an appearance on BBC Radio and he also recorded songs from the show. In the late 20s, he created the character Sam Small and started performing monologues on stage and on the radio. It was these monologues that made him a star in England. He even made films as Sam Small. He was too old for active service in WWII so he made propaganda films instead. By the late 40s he appeared in films like Brief Encounter and was a regular in Ealing Studios comedies like The Lavender Hill Mob. He continued to perform on the stage. A US tour as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream got the attention of My Fair Lady composer Alan Jay Lerner and that got him the role of Alfred Doolittle in the 1956 Broadway show. Holloway also played the role in the London stage production and the 1964 film. I recommend the London cast album because it is available at a budget price. After My Fair Lady, Holloway could do whatever he wanted. He was nominated for a Tony and an Oscar. He appeared on The Dean Martin Show three times and The Red Skelton Show twice. And he appeared in the 1965 film In Harm's Way with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. Holloway continued to perform on stage most notably in the Shaw Festival in Canada. His final performance was on a 1989 Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium. Stanley Holloway died on Jan. 30, 1982 at age 91. Here's Stanley Holloway performing With A Little Bit Of Luck in the 1964 film My Fair Lady.

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