Tommy Handley

Comedian, Musical Artist

1892 – 1949


Who was Tommy Handley?

Thomas Reginald "Tommy" Handley was a British comedian, mainly known for the BBC radio programme ITMA. He was born at Toxteth Park, Liverpool in Lancashire.

He served with a kite balloon section of the Royal Naval Air Service during World War I and went on to work in variety, and in the infancy of radio became known as a regular broadcaster. He worked with people such as Arthur Askey and Bob Monkhouse, and wrote many radio scripts, but it is the BBC comedy series ITMA for which he is best known, and which itself became known for a number of catchphrases, some of which entered popular vocabulary. He later starred in the ITMA film in 1942 and in Time Flies in 1944.

In later years, he suffered with high blood pressure, the result of his driving commitment to ITMA, and died suddenly on 9 January 1949 from a brain hemorrhage, eight days before his 57th birthday. He was cremated and interred at Golders Green Crematorium.

In a eulogy at his memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral, the Bishop of London, John W C Wand, said that "[h]e was one whose genius transmuted the copper of our common experience into the gold of exquisite foolery. His raillery was without cynicism, and his satire without malice".

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Jan 17, 1892
  • England
Lived in
  • Liverpool
Jan 9, 1949
Resting place
Golders Green Crematorium

on July 23, 2013


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