Birthday: January 9, 1943
Died At Age: 76
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Frederick Leslie Fowell
Born Country: England
Born in: Huyton, Lancashire, England
Famous as: Comedian
Height: 5'5" (165 cm), 5'5" Males
Spouse/Ex-: 2006–2010), Betty (m. 1960–1972), Donna (m. 1998–2003, Sandy (m. 1980–1995), Sophie Lea (m. 2013–separated in 2015)
children: Carl Starr, Donna Starr, Ebony Starr, Jody Starr, Stacey Starr, Tara Starr
Died on: May 9, 2019
City: Liverpool, England
Freddie Starr was a British comedian, impressionist, actor, and singer. Born and raised in Lancashire, England, he faced a difficult childhood, and was taken intocongregate care for 2 years. During his youth, he performed in clubs and road-shows, and was lead singer of Merseybeatpop group ‘The Midnighters.’ His comic talent received recognition on TV show ‘Opportunity Knocks,’ followed by a very successful act at the ‘Royal Variety Performance.’ Starting with comedy shows ‘Who Do You Do?’ and ‘Jokers Wild,’ he later had his own shows, ‘The Freddie Starr Show,’ ‘An Audience with Freddie Starr.’ His parodies were considered as outrageous and edgy, while he was known for his eccentric and often unpredictable behavior. During the latter part of his career, he appeared in some reality shows. He was involved in legal cases during his 70s, and later moved to Spain, where he died at 76.
Childhood & Early Life
Starr was born Frederick Leslie Fowell on January 9, 1943, in Huyton, Lancashire, England, to Jewish-German mother Hilda [née Bradford], and Richard Fowell, a brick-layer and part-time bare-knuckle boxer, who was often unemployed. Starr had 6 siblings and his twin brother died at birth. He had a difficult childhood as his father often beat him under the influence of alcohol, and once broke both of his legs. Because of such treatment, Starr stopped speaking at the age of 6 and was taken into congregate care for 2 years. These experiences made him a teetotaler for life.
Starr studied at ‘Sylvester’s Primary School’ and ‘Huyton Secondary Modern School.’ With mother’s encouragement, he performed in clubs and pubs from12, and toured around with ‘Hilda Fallon Roadshow.’ In 1958, he appeared as ‘a gang member’ in the film ‘Violent Playground.’
Starr was the lead singer of ‘The Midnighters,’ a 1960s pop group of music genre Merseybeat. The group released 3 singles on Decca Label, [Produced by Joe Meek], but the tracks could not make it to the charts. The group was managed by Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. In 1965 Starr left the group. He achieved some success in singing when in 1974, his single ‘It’s You’ reached number 9 in ‘UK Top 10.’
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In 1967, Starr appeared in the TV talent show ‘Opportunity Knocks’ in the comedy act ‘Freddie Starr and the Delmonts.’ He won the popular votes for 6 weeks. Next, he earned greater fame at the ‘1970 Royal Variety Performance,’ where his impersonations of Adam Faith, Billy Fury, Mick Jagger, and Adolf Hitler, got him the first encore in 47 years of the show.
This was followed by a successful career in TV and live shows. From 1972 to 1973, Starr appeared on ITV’s comedy show for ‘London Weekend Television,’ ‘Who Do You Do?’ with Russ Abbot, David Copperfield, and Les Dennis. He was also a regular panellist on the show ‘Jokers Wild.’
In 1974, his show ‘Ready Freddie Starr’ was reduced to a single special program due to his disagreement with the production team. In 1976, Starr hosted his show, ‘The Freddie Starr Show,’ on BBC.
In March 1986, a story was published in the tabloid ‘The Sun’ with the headline, ‘Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster.’ The story stated that after returning from a show to a friend’s place, when Starr requested for a sandwich and friend’s girlfriend refused, he put her pet hamster, ‘Supersonic,’ between 2 bread slices and proceeded to eat. Later, it was revealed that Starr’s agent/publicist Max Clifford had made-up the story as a practical joke. It did help in boosting Starr’s career and fees. In his autobiography, ‘Unwrapped’ , Starr cleared that it was not true and he was a vegetarian since young age.
Starr had his own shows on ITV – ‘Freddie Starr’ [1993-1994], ‘The Freddie Starr Show’ [1996-1998]. In 1996, he had LWT’s show ‘An Audience with Freddie Starr.’ The popularity of this show prompted a sequel, ‘Another Audience with Freddie Starr.’ Here, he indulged in outrageous tricks, such as throwing live maggots at the audience or hitting eggs with a golf club in the audience.
In 1989, Starr released an album ‘After the Laughter.’ At the peak of his career, he was one of Britain’s highest paid entertainers, who earned £1m to £2m per year and owned Rolls-Royce cars and racehorses. His horse, ‘Miinnehoma,’ won the ‘1994 Grand National.’
Starr was known for shockingly bold and unusual comedy. The audience never knew what was coming. But with emergence of new generation of comics, his brand of humor slowly became outdated. A heavy workload and numerous show dates brought in fatigue. He was addicted to Valium for 20 years, which affected his comedy performance.
In 2009, Starr appeared in the reality show ‘Living with the Dead.’ His April 2010 tour had to be cancelled and re-scheduled as he suffered a heart attack and required a bypass surgery. In 2011, he participated in the reality show, ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here,’ but he had to withdraw due to health issues.
Family & Personal Life
IN 1960, at the age of 17, Starr married his first wife, Betty Simpson.They had a son. The marriage ended in a divorce in 1972.
In 1975, he married Sandy Morgan (Sandra Morgan), a dancer in his show. They were married for 15 years and had 3 children.
He twice married and divorced his third wife, Donna Smith, who was his secretary and 27 years his junior. They had a daughter.
He married his fourth wife, Sophie Lea, in 2013, and divorced her in 2015.
In all, he had six children; one of his children, Tara Coleman-Starr, was born through his relationship with his manager Trudie Coleman. He was repeatedly accused of violent behavior and infidelity.
In November 2012, he was arrested for investigating historical sexual abuse allegations. He was on bail for 18 months, after which it was announced in 2014 that he would not be prosecuted due to ‘insufficient evidence.’ In 2015, his claim for slander and libel against his accuser was dismissed, and he was left with considerable legal bill.
Starr moved to Spain, but stated that it was not to avoid paying legal bill.
He died on May 9, 2019, at his home in Mijas, Costa Del Sol, Spain.