The sad, secret life of Benny Hill. The legendary British comedian was “lonely, depressed and felt ugly”, according to a book which claims he was so sober that he glued the soles of his tattered shoes back on. Most people remember a brilliant British comedian, but his life and end were very sad.
Most people remember the funny British actor Benny Hill for his clever humour. Benny Hill was born Alfred Hill on January 21, 1925 in Southampton, England, and his family and schoolmates remember him as a funny and talented guy.
It seems he was already earning money at the age of six, entertaining people on the beach with popular songs. As a teenager, he dropped out of school and worked as a milkman, before looking for a job in London: here he was a trainee in the props department of a theatre company.
Hill made his theatrical debut after an actor turned up to work drunk and had to be replaced. Apparently the director was impressed with the young backstage editor’s talent and decided to give him a chance. He later served in the British Army during World War II. During this time, he entertained troops in variety shows and adopted the stage name “Benny Hill” in a tribute to comedian Jack Benny.
Benny Hill was very thrifty, to the point of absurdity
But in real life, the multi-millionaire comedian was full of insecurities about his self-worth and had a morbid fear of spending money.
In Hollywood journalist Craig Bennett’s new book, True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip, he recalls talking at length about Hill with one of the comedian’s closest friends, the late Australian actress Sarah Kemp. According to her, Hill would spend hours thinking about how unloved and unattractive he felt to women – despite his supersexual on-screen persona.
And although he was incredibly successful with The Benny Hill Show, the late actor was extremely frugal and had a phobia of spending money. He was so over-the-top about it that he wore the same clothes until they were worn out and even glued the soles of his shoes back on when they came off. The actor would also buy groceries on sale and walk to BBC headquarters instead of taking a taxi. What’s more, he didn’t own a car or his own home, according to Sarah, because Benny Hill thought it would be an unnecessary expense.
The late British actor never married and had no children. Sadly, he died alone in front of the television. The famous comedian’s body was discovered two days after he suffered a heart attack on 26 April 1992. Benny Hill was buried in Hollybrook Cemetery, near Southampton, a few months after his grave had been robbed by thieves.
“I am alone. I have no family. I certainly don’t have to work. I don’t want to be the richest man in the graveyard,” said Benny Hill.
Hill, who died in 1992 at the age of 68, is best remembered for starring in The Benny Hill Show, a television show that was popular around the world. The program consisted of short, often risqué comedy sketches and aired in over 140 countries between 1955 and 1991. Benny Hill amassed a fortune of over ten million pounds from his show.