Francis Alick "Frankie" Howerd, OBE (6 March 1917 19 April 1992) was an English comedian and comic actor working in theatre, film and TV, whose career, described by fellow comedian Barry Cryer as "a series of comebacks", spanned six decades. Howerd presented a Camp Gay persona on screen, but never came out as gay during his life because of the fear of professional suicide; this was only revealed posthumously by his life partner Dennis Heymer.
Titter ye not at these tropes:
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: He was renowned for directly addressing the audience.
- Camp Gay: Howerd's comedy persona.
- Catchphrase: Several, most enduringly "Titter ye not", as Lurcio (his character in Up Pompeii) would admonish the audience after another Double Entendre.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A master of this, he would speak a line that sounded absolutely filthy and then act innocent and claim that any filth was in the audience's mind
- My Nayme Is: According to at least one newspaper interview, his real surname was actually Howard and the unusual spelling was a deliberate career move to help people remember him.
- Oop North: Born in York, North Yorkshire.
- Really 17 Years Old: For a couple of years, Howerd claimed he was born in 1922.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Howerd would often break off in long tangential discourses which had little to do with the plot or the script.
- Stylistic Suck: As noted above, would often sound like he'd lost his way in the script, he would stutter through lines as if not knowing what he was supposed to say, and act bemused when the audience reacted a particular way. According to those who worked with him, absolutely every pause, stutter and sigh was meticulously rehearsed by Howerd.