The ventriloquist Keith Harris has revealed that he lost a £7m fortune because his dyslexia meant he could not read contracts.
The 66-year-old, who found fame in the 1980s with his puppet sidekick Orville the Duck, said he was dubbed “thick” at school and never learned to read properly. He claimed it meant that he was duped into signing unfavourable contracts without reading them.
Harris, who continues to perform in panto and at holiday camps including Butlin’s, told the Mail on Sunday: “I’ve made about £7m throughout my career, but I’ve lost it all too. It’s all down to the dyslexia. I can’t read or write. Reading contracts? I didn’t, I just signed them.
“I got into trouble many times. I signed myself away for 14 years to someone once – 25 per cent I was paying. I had no idea.
“I’ve been brought up to trust people but you have to be careful. People think you’re very rich and want to see if they can make money out of you.”
Harris, who lives in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, with his wife Sarah, 48, and their two children, said he had covered up his dyslexia by asking people to read out the lines in scripts and then remembering them.
He added: “Everyone thought I was intelligent. You put on a front.”