Robert (Bob) Allen Monkhouse was a
British entertainer in the traditional sense, though
primarily known as a comedian and game show host.
Bob Monkhouse was born in Beckenham, Kent, and worked
briefly as an animator before his national service.
On leaving the RAF in 1948, he was one of the first
comedians to be given a contract by the BBC.
Originally employed as a scriptwriter for radio comedy,
Monkhouse gradually moved over to television, hosting
programmes such as Candid Camera in the early 1960s.
He also appeared in comedy films, including the first
of the "Carry On film" series (Carry on Sergeant).
One of his biggest television successes was as host
of The Golden Shot during the late 1960s. He went on
to host several quiz shows, including Celebrity Squares,
Bob's Full House, Family Fortunes and Wipeout. He also
starred in the 1979 sketch comedy television series
Bonkers with the Hudson Brothers.
A keen movie collector, he presented Mad Movies in
1966, in which he presented clips from comic silent
movies, some of which he had helped to recover and
restore. His film collecting hobby caused a brush with
the law in the 1980s when he was arrested for suspected
theft, but was soon cleared.
Monkhouse became a favourite with impressionists,
and, as his style of comedy fell out of favour, was
often mocked for his slickness and apparent insincerity.
He came back into fashion during the 1990s, and appearances
such as guesting on Have I Got News For You restored
his popularity. In July 1995, Monkhouse was in the
headlines when he appealed for the safe return of his
joke book which had been lost or stolen. The book,
which contained notes on sketches and one-liners, for
which Monkhouse was most famous, was eventually returned
to its owner. He was appointed an OBE in 1993.
Monkhouse died at his home in Bedfordshire of prostate
cancer on 29th December 2003. He was 75.