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greeted his fel­low ex­plorer in deep­est Africa with the im­mor­tal words “Dr Liv­ing­stone, I pre­sume?”

On leav­ing school Hol­loway worked as a clerk. Like many young men of his time he joined the Lon­don Ri­fle Brigade which was a vol­un­teer army unit.

This led to him be­ing com­mis­sioned in the First World War in the Con­naught Rangers with whom he saw ser­vice in the Easter Ris­ing in Ire­land and on the Western Front.

To­wards the end of the war he joined Les­lie Hen­son, Jack Buchanan, Bin­nie Hale and other en­ter­tain­ers to per­form for the troops.

His first pro­fes­sional en­gage­ment had been to sing in a sea­side con­cert party be­fore the First World War af­ter which he com­menced to train in Italy as an op­er­atic singer.

How­ever, af­ter the War he re­verted to va­ri­ety, pan­tomime, mu­si­cal com­edy and re­vues, en­joy­ing a broad based ca­reer on Broad­way and the West End stage, in films and on ra­dio and tele­vi­sion.

In the 1920s Hol­loway and oth­ers who had per­formed in the Army formed the ‘Co-Op­ti­mists’ whose re­vues ran for six years in the West End.

He per­fected the per­for­mance of such comic mono­logues as ‘Sam, Sam Pick oop thy Mus­ket’, and Al­bert’s un­happy ex­pe­ri­ence at the zoo with a lion.

De­scribed as “the un­der­stated look-on-the­bright-side” world of the cock­ney, his voice made him, as he had demon­strated in public to fel­low din­ers, per­fect for the char­ac­ter role of the cock­ney dust­man Al­fred P. Doolit­tle in ‘My Fair Lady’.

Hol­loway’s film ca­reer ranged from pro­pa­ganda films in the Sec­ond World War to play­ing op­po­site two of Bea­cons­field’s great ac­tresses.

He starred in ‘Ma­jor Bar­bara’ (1941), a so­cial satire in which he played a po­lice­man op­po­site Wendy Hiller, and with Mar­garet Rutherford in the 1949 Eal­ing Stu­dios com­edy ‘Pass­port to Pim­lico’ play­ing a Prime Min­is­ter.

HAPPY BIRTH­DAY: Stan­ley Hol­loway holds his 79th birth­day cake; top left in My Fair Lady and, above, in Pass­port to Pim­lico

A QUICK CHAT: With Hugh Grif­fith in The Tit­field Thun­der­bolt

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