Ernie Wise Biography

BORN November 27 1925, Ernest Wiseman lived with his parents Harry and Connie at what was known as Railway Cottages, 12 Station Terrace, East Ardsley.

One of five children, he attended Thorpe Junior and Infant School and finished his education at East Ardsley Boys' School.

Aged six, he first joined his father on stage entertaining crowds at working men's clubs as a double act called Carson and Kid.

At the age of 12 he appeared on stage for the first time as a solo entertainer and in 1938 appeared on stage at Morley's New Pavilion theatre. The young Ernest was tipped as this country's answer to Mickey Rooney.

It was 1939 and Ernie was travelling the country when he happened upon a fellow entertainer, Eric Bartholomew. The pair became inseparable and it was Eric's mother Sadie who first suggested they try their luck as a double act.

Inspired by Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy the fresh faced comedy duo made their first professional appearance at the Liverpool Empire. Shortly after, Eric adopted the surname Morecambe and Ernie shortened his name to Wise.

The pair briefly parted when 18-year-old Ernie was called up to the Merchant Navy, but they were soon back together after the war working theatres such as the Glasgow Empire. In 1951 they made their TV debut on the Parade of Youth. Three years later they were to appear on their first TV series, but after bad reviews the show was cancelled.

After a short time in Australia, they decided to try once more at their TV careers in 1959 and topped the bill on The Good Old Days show and another show, Two of a Kind, their new TV series began.

In 1968 the Morecambe and Wise show began on the BBC. For the years that followed Morecambe and Wise's memorable set pieces including Singing in the Rain, The Stripper and Nothing Like a Dame attracted millions of viewers - 28 million tuned in on Christmas Day in 1977. Sketches with famous names such stars as Andre Previn and Shirley Bassey made them national institutions. Their fame reached such heights they even counted royalty as fans.

In 1976 their dedication to entertaining was recognised as both Eric and Ernie were awarded the OBE.

Their last ever Christmas show was shown on Boxing Day 1983.

On May 28 1984 Eric suffered a fatal heart attack, ending a legendary partnership that spanned over four decades and leaving Ernie devastated.

Retiring from show business in 1995, Ernie died on March 21 1999, aged 73, following a series of heart problems.