Carry On actor dies

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The Independent Culture

Comedy actor Jack Douglas, best known for his appearances in the Carry On film series, died today of pneumonia.

Douglas, 81, had been ill for a few years but died at 7.15am today on the Isle of Wight, in Hants, where he lived with his partner Vivien Howell.

He made his name as the nervous and fidgety Carry On character Alf Ippititimus with his famous "Phwaay!" catchphrase.

In later life, he was a regular on the theatre and pantomime circuit.

His agent and friend Phil Dale said: "Jack was one of those lovely people who came from the world of comedy and understood comedy timing in the sense of the old British tradition of farce, which is seldom done these days."

Douglas was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and worked in the theatre before appearing in the last seven Carry On films of the original series, including Carry On Matron, Carry On Abroad, Carry On Girls, Carry On Dick, Carry On Behind, Carry On England and Carry On Emmanuelle.

His role grew from a cameo with one line of dialogue in Matron to a leading role in Emmanuelle.

He also appeared in the Carry On Christmas specials in 1972 and 1973, the Carry On Laughing television series and in the revival film Carry On Columbus in 1992.

He guest-starred in an episode of The Goodies and became a stooge for the likes of Bruce Forsyth, Arthur Haynes and Benny Hill.

His character Alf Ippititimus was also a regular with Des O'Connor in variety shows and pantomimes during the 1960s.

Douglas came from a theatrical family and initially followed in his father's footsteps as a producer, putting on his first show at the age of 15.

He showed no interest in performing until he stood in for one of his actors who was ill.

He enjoyed it so much, he decided to perform instead of produce.

He loved jazz music, enjoyed cooking in his spare time and wrote a book, The Whey-Hey Guide to Better Cookery.

He also wrote a musical, What A Performance, about the life of comedian Sid Field, and his own autobiography, A Twitch in Time.

Writer and broadcaster Richard Hope-Hawkins said: "Jack was a lovely friend and a very clever comedian.

"He was one of the pioneers of early television. It's lovely everyone recognises Jack for his Carry On films but he was also a true professional and entertainer."

He and Douglas organised a celebrity benefit gala which raised more than £75,000 for actor Terry-Thomas who had been reduced to poverty through Parkinsons Disease.

More than 120 artists took part in the Terry-Thomas Gala at London's Theatre Royal in 1989 including Phil Collins, Eartha Kitt, Russ Conway, Sir Harry Secombe, Roy Castle, Ronnie Corbett, Susan George, Michael Winner and Barbara Windsor to name but a few.

He added: "In 16 weeks Jack and I organised the largest celebrity benefit gala that London has ever seen with over 120 artists.

"The audience was full of celebrities too. If there's any achievement that Jack did apart from his comic skills, it was this wonderful gala benefit for Terry-Thomas."