Nathaniel Tristram Jackley Hirsch
16 July 1909
|Died||17 September 1988 (aged 79)|
Nat Jackley (16 July 1909 - 17 September 1988) was an English comic actor starring in variety, film and pantomime from the 1920s to the mid-1980s whose trademark rubber-neck dance, skeletal frame and peculiar speech impediment made him a formidable and funny comedian and pantomime dame. His later years were spent as a character actor in films and television.
A native of Sunderland, Nathaniel Tristram Jackley Hirsch was born into a theatrical family. His father George Jackley (1885-1950) was a comic actor who was the leading comedian for the Melville Brothers at the Lyceum Theatre during the interwar years. George, himself, was the son of Nathan Jackley who, with his own troupe, The Jackley Wonders, performed in circuses throughout Europe and the United States. His brother David was an actor and his wife, Marianne Lincoln, was scriptwriter and Nat's comedy foil. Nat Jackley was also a member of the Freemasons. He died of cancer two months past his 79th birthday and his place of death appears in the England and Wales Death Index: 1916-2006 as Coventry, Warwickshire.
Nat Jackley began his career in the 1920s as a double act with his sister Joy and later joined The Eight Lancashire Lads. He teamed up as the 'straight man' to comedian Jack Clifford, but they later swapped roles. In addition to his first wife, he worked with several other feeds, but ultimately made his career as a headlining solo comedian. Like many artists of the time he entertained troops during World War II. Nat Jackley appeared in three Royal Variety shows and topped the bill in summer shows throughout the seaside resorts and in London. In the final decades of his career, he became a character actor in such films as 1956's Stars in Your Eyes and 1984's The Ploughman's Lunch.
In 1950 Nat appeared on television in the programme The Symbol of Entertainment Supreme made from extracts of shows running in Blackpool at the time, including the revue Out of this World at the Opera House with Nat. Although he made many appearances on radio and television, the only time Nat Jackley had his own show on television was with the pair of specials Nat's in the Belfry on BBC TV in 1956. In 1957 he appeared in a film for television Revels of 1957 composed of sections of Blackpool shows of the time. Nat appeared on television in The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour film in 1967 as Happy Nat the Rubber Man,Jingle Bells a Play for Today (1973), the one-off Thames special Bentine (1975),Angels (1976), Talent (1979), The Spoils of War (1980), Tales of the Unexpected, A Midsummer Night's Dream as Snout,The Old Boy Network as himself, and Dancing Country a BBC2 Playhouse presentation in 1981, the series The Chinese Detective (1982), the series Juliet Bravo in 1983, Threads (1984), the series Dramarama and Minder in 1985, and Lizzie's Pictures in 1987.