1935 - 2007
much information seems to be available on this star who was
a legend in his own lifetime. However it would be completely
unthinkable to have a 'camp' theme on this website without
honouring the epitome of camp: Mr. Wilberforce Clayborne
Humphries, the menswear assistant of Grace Bros. in the
immortal sitcom, 'Are You Being Served?'
The legend was born Frederick John Inman on the 28th June
1935 in Preston (although some say he was born in nearby
Blackpool), Lancashire, England, UK. At 21 he joined a
touring repertory theatre company, but his first appearances
are reported to have been on Blackpool's South Pier when he
was just thirteen years old.
John Inman made innumerable appearances on television. He
was a seasoned cabaret and stage performer who starred all
over Britain (and abroad), with leading roles in Londons
West End. His West End debut was (reportedly) at the
Cambridge Theatre in the musical 'Ann Veronica', Leading
parts followed in 'Salad Days', 'Let's Get Laid', and in the
production of 'Charley's Aunt' at the Adelphi where he
played Lord Fancourt Babberley.
In 1972, John's camp portrayal of the menswear assistant, Mr
Humphries, in the long-running series 'Are You Being Served'
made him a household name. Sixty-nine episodes were filmed
during ten seasons, from 1972 to 1985. They are still as
popular today as ever, people are still asking for more,
with some cable stations showing them six at a time back to
back. There are fan clubs and appreciation societies
throughout the world, especially in Canada, the USA,
Australia and New Zealand. John starred in an Australian
version of 'Are You Being Served' too. There was also a
stage version, and a feature film for EMI, in which John
re-created his role.
He was the subject of an ITVs 'This Is Your Life'
programme, and was honoured by the Variety Club of Great
Britain as their BBC Television Personality Of The Year.
Shortly after that he was voted the Funniest Man On
Television by the readers of TV Times. John appeared in
three Royal Variety Performances, and Childrens Variety
Performances, and entertained most members of the Royal
the major successes of all his shows, and world tours,
('Fancy Free', 'Pyjama Tops', and 'My Fat Friend' to name
three), John always returned home for his pantomime each
year. Astoundingly, he appeared in more than forty of them.
John was forced into
cancelling an appearance in a pantomime in December 2004 due
to a sudden illness - a hepatitis A infection contracted
from contaminated food. He suffered complications from the
infection for the rest of his life, and he never worked
again. In December 2005, after being in a long-term
relationship for 35 years, John and his partner Ron Lynch
entered into a civil partnership. John Inman died in St
Mary's Hospital, Paddington, on the 8th March 2007 aged 71
years, and left his entire estate of £2.8 million to his
partner. At the time this was believed to be the largest
amount a gay man in a civil partnership had inherited since
the ceremonies became legal in 2005.
Actor - filmography
(2000s) (1990s) (1980s) (1970s)
Boom Boom! The Best of the
Original Basil Brush Show (2001) (V) (archive footage) ....
I Love Christmas (2001) (TV) (archive footage)
100 Greatest TV Characters, The (2001) (TV) (archive
footage) .... Mr. Humphries
BBC Hall of Fame: Barbara Windsor (2000) (TV) .... Himself
Funny Turns: John Inman (1999) (TV) .... Himself
"Laughter in the House: The Story of British Sitcom" (1999)
(mini) TV Series .... Himself/Wilberforce Clayborne
"Pantoland" (1997) (mini) TV Series .... Himself
"Grace & Favour" (1992) TV Series .... Mr. Wilberforce
Clayborne Humphries ... aka "Are You Being Served? Again!"
Best of Are You Being Served?, The (1992) (TV) .... Mrs.
Tall Guy, The (1989) .... Cameo appearance
"Take a Letter Mr Jones" (1981) TV Series .... Mr. Jones
"Are You Being Served?" (1980) TV Series .... Mr. Humphries
... aka "Are You Being Served in Australia?" (1980) (USA)
"Odd Man Out" (1977) TV Series .... Neville Sutcliffe
Are You Being Served? (1977) .... Mr.Humphries ... aka 'Are
You Being Served?': The Movie (1977)
"Are You Being Served?" (1972) TV Series .... Mr.
Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries ... aka "Grace Brothers"
Notable TV guest appearances
"Heroes of Comedy" (1997)
playing "Himself" in episode: "Dick Emery" 4/13/2002
"Top Ten" (2000) playing "Himself" in episode: "Camp Icons"
"French and Saunders" (1987) in episode: "Phantom
Millennium, The" (episode # 5.10) 12/28/1999
"It's Only TV... But I Like It" (1999) playing "Himself"(episode
# 1.5) 7/1/1999
"Blankety Blank" (1977) playing "Himself" 1979