Joe Din­dol


The Jewish Chronicle - - OBITUARIES -

PART-TIME comic Joe Din­dol , who raised hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds for char­ity, en­ter­tained the troops while re­pair­ing RAF planes at the St Athan base, South Wales, dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

But de­spite suc­cess in post-war au­di­tions and of­fers of work from es­tab­lished per­form­ers and the BBC, his par­ents ad­vised him against be­ing a full-time comic on the grounds that this was no job for a nice Jewish boy.

In­stead, he worked the mar­kets in Ox­ford, Ket­ter­ing and Ban­bury. He later joked he wished he had turned pro­fes­sional, as “the shmatte busi­ness is get­ting harder and harder.”

East End-born, he grew up in Bletch­ley, Bucks, where his fa­ther, An­gel, ran a small drap­ery shop. He left school to be ap­pren­ticed as an elec­tri­cian.

Grow­ing up in a non-Jewish en­vi­ron­ment, at least un­til wartime evac­u­a­tion, he and his sis­ter and two brothers — a younger brother sur­vives him -— were sent to cheder in Northamp­ton, where he was bar­mitz­vah. His par­ents were founder mem­bers of Northamp­ton and Lu­ton syn­a­gogues.

His ex­pe­ri­ence in ama­teur dra­mat­ics in Bletch­ley and his suc­cess in RAF con­cert par­ties left him hooked on show­biz.

He per­formed at char­ity events, wed­dings, bar­mitz­vahs and par­ties — his busi­ness card read: “avail­able for wed­dings, bar­mitz­vahs and di­vorces” -— and at ev­ery large ho­tel and theatre in the West End, with the Pal­la­dium as his favourite.

With his lugubri­ous face and per­fect sense of tim­ing, he told his best sto­ries: the doc­tor who gave him 10 months to live. “I told him I couldn’t pay his bill so he gave me an­other six months.”

Or the He­brew toast l’chaim, “which means, to life! I know what that means as I’ve got a brother do­ing chaim at Pen­tonville Prison”.

He played along­side fa­mous co­me­di­ans and en­ter­tain­ers, in­clud­ing Bob Monkhouse and Larry Adler. He raised huge sums for his Lodge’s good causes, for Jewish char­i­ties such as Alyn, the Jerusalem hospi­tal for hand­i­capped chil­dren, and in par­tic­u­lar, for can­cer re­search at North Mid­dle­sex Hospi­tal af­ter his wife, Sylvia’s, death in 1977 af­ter nearly 30 years of mar­riage.

Suf­fer­ing from Parkin­son’s dis­ease, he spent his last two years in Jewish Cares’ Rose­trees home, where he could still make staff laugh.

He is sur­vived by his daugh­ter, Rosalind; son, David; and two grand­daugh­ters.

Joe Din­dol: lugubri­ous comic

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