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Dave Allen

An Irish comedian, very popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s; he also became known in America through reruns of his shows on public television.

His career had a major resurgence during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Allen's act was typified by his relaxed, rueful and intimate style he would sit on a high bar chair facing his audience, smoking and occasionally sipping from a glass of what he always allowed people to assume was whiskey, but in fact was merely ginger ale with ice.

He was a sober-minded man who, though sometimes appearing crochety and irritable on stage, gave off an air of serene melancholy in real life.

Each day he would pore over the newspapers, constantly scribbling notes and ideas which he expanded for his routines.

He was an atheist as a result of his deeply held objections to the rigidity of his strict Catholic schooling, and consequently religion became an important subject for his humour, particularly the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.

Highly regarded in Britain, Allen's comic technique and style had a lasting influence on many young British comedians.

He changed his stage surname to "Allen" on the prompting of his agent, who believed that few English people would be able to pronounce "O'Mahoney" correctly.

Allen lost part of the index finger of his left hand, after catching it in a cog. However, he told many differing stories as to how it actually happened.

Allen had his first television appearance on the BBC talent show New Faces in 1959. In 1961 he toured England and France with the then-unknown Beatles, and toured South Africa in 1962 with Sophie Tucker.

While on tour in Australia in 1963, he quickly proved successful and accepted an offer to headline a television talk show with Channel 9, Tonight with Dave Allen, which was very popular.

However, only six months after his television debut he was banned from the Australian airwaves when, during a live broadcast, he told the show's producer who had been pressing him to go to a commercial break to go away and masturbate so that he could continue an interview with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

The ban was later dropped quietly when Allen's popularity continued.

Allen returned to the United Kingdom in 1964 and made a variety of appearances on ITV.

In 1967 Allen hosted his own comedy/chat series, Tonight with Dave Allen, which earned him the Variety Club's ITV Personality of the Year Award.

He signed up with the BBC in 1968 and appeared on The Dave Allen Show, a variety/comedy sketch series.

This was followed, 1971-79, by Dave Allen at Large, which introduced his trademark solo joke-telling-while-sitting-on-a-stool-and-drinking routine.

New seasons of the series, which was renamed Dave Allen in 1981, were made until 1990. During the same period, Allen also made The Dave Allen Show in Australia (19751977) for his old employers, Channel 9 in Australia.

Dave Allen lived quietly in Kensington, west London, in the relative peace of semi-retirement whilst at the same time enjoying the regular company of his close friends and devoted family.

He died suddenly, but peacefully in his sleep on March 10, 2005, aged 68.

All information in-depth may be obtained at the web address above.

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