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John Inman

1935 - 2007
 

John InmanNot 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 London’s 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 ITV’s '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 Children’s’ Variety Performances, and entertained most members of the Royal Family.

John Inman and partner Ron LynchJohn Inman Panto DameDespite 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) .... Himself
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 Humphries
"Pantoland" (1997) (mini) TV Series .... Himself
"Grace & Favour" (1992) TV Series .... Mr. Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries ... aka "Are You Being Served? Again!" (1992) (USA)
Best of Are You Being Served?, The (1992) (TV) .... Mrs. Humphries/Mr. Humphries
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" (1972)


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" 4/13/2002
"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

 

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Are You Being Served?

 

Our Camp Contenders

Kings of Camp.

JOHN INMAN.     LARRY GRAYSON.     PAUL O'GRADY     JULIAN CLARY.

KENNETH WILLIAMS.     DALE WINTON.     GRAHAM NORTON.     CHARLES HAWTREY.

 

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AstaBGay - The Blackpool Gay Scene Guide.

 

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