Max Miller (Thomas Henry Sargent)
BiographyBrighton, East Sussex, England, UK
He was one of Britain's prime comedians of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The beloved, notoriously ribald Max Miller was born of humble circumstances in Brighton, England in 1894. The juvenile dropped out of school at 12 and drifted about aimlessly for several years until called up by the Army to serve in the First World War. He began his career of sorts by entertaining the troops, which triggered his show biz ambition. Following the war he started slowly building up a name for himself in assorted pubs and music halls as a song-and-dance comedian. Read more... Hall in 1922, he eventually helped himself considerably by creating his own material and composing his own songs. He hit the big time in mid-career playing all the top variety theatres in the country, ultimately the London Palladium in 1931. A master player of the double entendre, he was known for his brash, impish behavior and clever wit, and was quite adept at covering gags that didn't go over well. He dressed over the top and developed the nickname "The Cheeky Chappie" which well suited his stylishly blue material. His trademarks were his flower-patterned suit with plus fours, co-respondent shoes and trilby hat, which was slightly tilted as a song was introduced. His signature tune was "Mary from the Dairy," which he wrote. It would seem he'd be a natural for radio but his material was deemed to racy for broadcasting. Since he refused to kowtow to the medium, his appearances were infrequent. His recording career, however, was quite successful and lasted nearly three decades. Between 1933 and 1942 Max appeared in fourteen feature films that were toned down considerably, including Things Are Looking Up (1935) with Cicely Courtneidge, the title role in Educated Evans (1936), and its sequel Thank Evans (1938), Hoots Mon (1940) and The Good Old Days (1940), the last playing a character named Alexander the Greatest. Long married to Kathleen Marsh, who gave him his stage moniker of Max Miller, the comedian died at his home of a heart ailment in 1963.