Will Hay (William Thomson Hay)
Photos with Will Hay
BiographyStockton-on-Tees, Cleveland, England, UK
William Thompson Hay was probably one of the most versatile of entertainers. He was not only a character comedian of the first rank, but was also an astronomer of high repute - he discovered the spot on the planet Saturn in 1933 - and a fully qualified air pilot; he was once an engineer. Born at Stockton on Tees in 1888, he became interested in astronomy at school and carried on his research work in this direction after he had finished his nightly stage entertainments. He was first "on the air" in 1922 and his then comedy sketches of "St. Read more... (of which he was the headmaster) proved to be one of the most popular comedy characters on radio at that time. This character was transfered to film and became equally successful. He worked at Elstree Studios, then Gainsborough, then Ealing; the Gainsborough period was the most consistently successfully, particularly when he worked with the team of Marcel Varnel (director), Val Guest and Marriott Edgar (writers), and Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt (supporting cast). By the time he made his first film, he was in his mid forties and his last role came less than a decade later. Between 1934 and 1943, he was a prolific and popular film comedian. He was credited on several films as a writer or co-ordinator, and was arguably the dominant 'author' of all the films in which he appeared, in that they were built around his persona and depended on the character and routines he had developed over years on the stage.