Monday, 27 February 2012

Max Wall: Funny Man

Max Wall, born Maxwell George Lorimer (12th March 1908 - 21st May 1990), was an English comedian and actor, whose performing career covered music hall, theatre, films and television. He is best remembered for his ludicrously attired and hilariously strutting Professor Wallofski. This creation notably influenced John Cleese, who has acknowledged Max Wall's influence on the creation of his own Ministry of Silly Walks sketch for Monty Python.
After appearing in many musicals and stage comedies in the 1930s, Wall's career went into decline, and he was reduced to working in obscure nightclubs. He then joined the Royal Air Force during World War II and served for three years until he was invalided out in 1943. Wall re-emerged during the 1950s when producers and directors rediscovered his comic talents, along with the expressive power of his tragic clown face and the distinctive sad falling cadences of his voice.
He secured television appearances and, having attracted Samuel Beckett's attention, he won parts in Waiting for Godot and Krapp's Last Tape.
On the afternoon of 20th May 1990, Wall fell at Simpson's Restaurant in central London, fracturing his skull. He never regained consciousness, and died early the next morning at Westminster Hospital. He was 82.

A ten minute biography from channel 4's (UK) Heroes of Comedy.

Max Wall attempts Rachmaninoff. From the 1975 film Max Wall: Funny Man.

A fine selection (edited with some repetitions to a ska track...) of Max's superb comedic physicality.
Facial Contortions of an older Funny Man

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