The Info List - Ernie Wise

Ernest Wiseman, OBE (27 November 1925 – 21 March 1999), known by his stage name Ernie Wise, was an English comedian, best known as one half of the comedy duo Morecambe
and Wise, who became a national institution on British television, especially for their Christmas specials.


1 Early life and education 2 Performing career 3 Later years 4 Death 5 Legacy and statue 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

Early life and education[edit] Ernest Wiseman, born in Bramley (a district of Leeds) to Harry and Connie Wiseman (née Wright) who married in St Thomas Stanningley,[1] was the eldest of five children, and changed his surname (as did his future partner) to go into show business. He attended Thorpe Infant and Junior School, and then East Ardsley
East Ardsley
Boys' School, but entered the entertainment industry in 1933, appearing as an actor and singer in music hall. His father, Harry, a railway lamp man, was also a semi-professional singer, and they appeared together under the name "Bert Carson and his Little Wonder". He started making solo appearances—singing, dancing, and telling jokes—in 1936, and, in autumn of 1938 he came to the attention of Bryan Michie, a leading juvenile talent spotter, who recommended him to the impresario Jack Hylton. Performing career[edit] In 1940, the year he met Eric Morecambe, then known as Eric Bartholomew, he appeared with British comedian Arthur Askey
Arthur Askey
in his Band Waggon radio show, billed as Britain's Mickey Rooney. Gradually, Wise and Morecambe
formed a close friendship, and, in 1941, they began their comedy double act, which was to last until Morecambe's death in 1984. They made their debut together as "Bartholomew and Wise" on Thursday 28 August 1941, at the Liverpool Empire. A change of name followed in the autumn: after agreeing that the combination of their respective places of birth— Morecambe
and Leeds—would make the act sound too much like a cheap day return, they settled on " Morecambe
and Wise" During World War II, Morecambe
was a Bevin Boy, working down a coal mine at Accrington
and Wise served in the Merchant Navy, from the end of 1943. They reunited after the war and made their name in radio, transferring to television in April 1954, in their first series, Running Wild, which was unsuccessful. In 1961, they gained their own series on ATV, which was a success and raised their profile. They transferred to the BBC
in 1968. Over a period of more than twenty years, Morecambe
and Wise had regular series with both ITV and BBC. In 1976, they were both appointed OBEs. Wise was commonly regarded as the straight man of the partnership, although his role gradually and subtly changed over the years. When Eddie Braben took over as their chief writer, he enriched Wise's persona by making him pompous and naive. Wise's character changed from being a conventional straight man into a pretentious and self-satisfied buffoon. Braben also made Wise a would-be writer; their BBC
shows in the 1970s would always climax with an extended sketch, introduced by Wise as "a play what I wrote." It was in such a 'play' that Glenda Jackson, at the height of her career, was made to speak the line "All men are fools, and what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got." Later years[edit] After Morecambe's death from a third heart attack on 28 May 1984, Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
spent some of his time at Boca Raton, Florida, where he had a holiday home. In the UK, he lived in Thorpe Avenue, Peterborough
for many years next door to singer Edmund Hockridge, before moving to a luxury home on the banks of the River Thames
River Thames
in Maidenhead, Berkshire. It was claimed that he made the first mobile phone call in the UK on 1 January 1985 from St Katharine Docks, east London, to Vodafone's Headquarters in Newbury, Berkshire.[2] However it has recently emerged that the very first call was made a few hours earlier by Michael Harrison to his father Sir Ernest Harrison, chairman of Vodafone.[3] However, it can still be said that Wise technically made the first "official" public mobile phone call.[4] Wise appeared regularly as a panellist on the ITV revival of the popular panel show What's My Line? He was a guest several times on Countdown, had a gardening column in the News of the World
News of the World
newspaper and also appeared in several West End plays. He gave talks on cruises about his life as half of one of the most successful and popular British comedy double acts of all time. In 1989, he made a guest appearance in Rainbow Series 17, Episode 1276.[5] In 1990, he wrote his autobiography, Still on My Way to Hollywood. He also was the subject on This Is Your Life, which was transmitted on Boxing Day
Boxing Day
that year. His 1992 Christmas
single was a recommended retail release in Music Week. Wise was also an active and long-time participant in the Keep Britain Tidy
Keep Britain Tidy
campaign.[citation needed] On 14 May 1994, the BBC
aired the first of three episodes of a mini-series called Bring Me Sunshine, as a tribute to Eric Morecambe. It was hosted by Ben Elton, who is a huge fan of Morecambe
and Wise, and who cites the duo as a big influence on his career. Those interviewed were John Thaw, Roy Castle, who was to die later that year, Diana Rigg, Hale and Pace and Fry and Laurie. Wise was not asked to participate, as the BBC
said that they did not want "Too many talking heads". He was, however, recovering from a minor stroke which he had suffered in December 1993.[6] Wise suffered a second minor stroke in August 1995, and as a result, announced his retirement from show business on 27 November 1995, his 70th birthday.[7] In August 1998, Wise was asked by the BBC
to take part in Bring Me Sunshine: The Heart and Soul of Eric Morecambe, which was shown on 23 December that year. He had agreed to do so, but then his health had begun to deteriorate further. Earlier that month, Wise suffered two heart attacks within a week while on holiday, and had to undergo a triple heart bypass in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 22 January 1999. In March 1999, he was flown back to RAF Northolt, in London, by air ambulance and taken directly to the Nuffield Hospital
Nuffield Hospital
at Wexham, Buckinghamshire. Death[edit] Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
died from heart failure and a chest infection at the Nuffield Hospital, Wexham, near Slough
on the morning of 21 March 1999.[8] His funeral was on 30 March at Slough
crematorium.[9] The eulogy was read by Michael Grade. Marion Montgomery, Rolf Harris, Angela Rippon and Frank Bough were among those who attended, along with the family of Eric Morecambe. Wise was married to the dancer Doreen Blythe from 18 January 1953 until his death; they had no children. Legacy and statue[edit]

Statue of Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
in Morley, West Yorkshire

In March 2010, Wise's widow Doreen unveiled a statue of him in his home town of Morley, West Yorkshire
Morley, West Yorkshire
where he won a talent contest in 1936.[10][11] The statue was commissioned by the Morley Murals Committee and funded by Doreen.[12] References[edit]

^ http://www.calverley.info/stthomas_mar.htm ^ "Mobiles rack up 20 years of use". BBC
News. 1 January 2005. Retrieved 19 September 2010.  ^ "UK's first mobile phone user remembers his call 30 years on". BBC News. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2015.  ^ Neate, Rupert. "New Year's Day mobile phone call made history and started a new era". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2015.  ^ "Rainbow - Morecambe
& Wise". morecambeandwise.com. Retrieved 24 July 2017.  ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/My+Life+with+Mr+Sunshine+by+Doreen+Wise.-a060170730 ^ http://www.bigredbook.info/ernie_wise.html ^ "Comedian Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
dies". BBC
News. 22 March 1999. Retrieved 19 September 2010.  ^ "Little Ern's final bow". BBC
News. 30 March 1999.  ^ Dawar, Anil (22 February 2010). " Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
Statue Unveiled". Daily Express. Northern and Shell Media Publications. Retrieved 24 February 2010.  ^ Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
Statue is unveiled — "Belfast Telegraph" ^ "Wise widow funds home town statue". BBC
News. BBC. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2008. 

Further reading[edit]


Morecambe, Eric; Wise, Ernie (1973). Eric & Ernie: The Autobiography of Morecambe
& Wise. London: W.H. Allen / Virgin Books. ISBN 9780491012119.  Morecambe, Eric; Wise, Ernie; Freedland, Michael (1981). There's No Answer to That!: An Autobiography. London: Arthur Barker. ISBN 9780213168032.  Wise, Ernie; Barnes, Trevor (1990). Still on My Way to Hollywood. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. ISBN 9780715623381.  Sellers, Robert; Hogg, James (2011). Little Ern! The Authorised Biography of Ernie Wise. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 9780283071508. 

External links[edit]

Eric And Ern - Keeping The Magic Alive **Book, Film, TV Reviews, Interviews** Ernie Wise's appearance on This Is Your Life

v t e

and Wise

Eric Morecambe Ernie Wise


Hills and Green Eddie Braben John Ammonds Ernest Maxin


Running Wild (1954) Two of a Kind (1961–68) The Morecambe
& Wise Show (1968–83) The Morecambe
& Wise Show (1978–83)

Episode Lists

Two of a Kind (1961-68) The Morecambe
& Wise Show (1968-77) The Morecambe
& Wise Show (1978-83)


The Eric Morecambe
Eric Morecambe
and Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
Show (1975-78)


The Intelligence Men
The Intelligence Men
(1965) That Riviera Touch
That Riviera Touch
(1966) The Magnificent Two
The Magnificent Two
(1967) Night Train to Murder (1983)


"Bring Me Sunshine"

Books by

Eric & Ernie: The Autobiography of Morecambe
& Wise (1973) Morecambe
& Wise: There's No Answer To That! (1981) Still On My Way To Hollywood (1990, Wise only)

Television tributes

Bring Me Sunshine: A Gala Evening (1984) Bring Me Sunshine: Morecambe
& Wise (1994) Morecambe
& Wise: Greatest Moments (2008) Bring Me Morecambe
& Wise (2012)


List of joint appearances Fools Rush In (1973) The Passionate Pilgrim (1984) The Importance of Being Ernie (1990) The Play What I Wrote
The Play What I Wrote
(2001) Morecambe
and Wise: In Their Own Words (2007) Morecambe
(2009) Eric and Ernie (2011)

Awards for Ernie Wise

v t e

BAFTA TV Award for Best Entertainment Performance

Eric Morecambe
Eric Morecambe
& Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
(1970-1971) Ronnie Barker
Ronnie Barker
& Ronnie Corbett
Ronnie Corbett
(1972) Eric Morecambe
Eric Morecambe
& Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
(1973-1974) Stanley Baxter (1975) Ronnie Barker
Ronnie Barker
(1976) Penelope Keith (1977) Ronnie Barker
Ronnie Barker
(1978-1979) John Cleese
John Cleese
(1980) Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson
(1981) Nigel Hawthorne (1982-1983) Tracey Ullman
Tracey Ullman
(1984) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1985) Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood
(1986) Nigel Hawthorne (1987-1988) Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood
(1989) Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson
(1990) David Jason (1991) Richard Wilson (1992) Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley
(1993) Richard Wilson (1994) Rory Bremner
Rory Bremner
(1995-1996) John Bird & John Fortune (1997) Paul Whitehouse (1998) Michael Parkinson (1999) Graham Norton
Graham Norton
(2000-2001-2002) Paul Merton
Paul Merton
(2003) Jonathan Ross
Jonathan Ross
(2004) Paul O'Grady
Paul O'Grady
(2005) Jonathan Ross
Jonathan Ross
(2006-2007) Harry Hill
Harry Hill
(2008-2009) Anthony McPartlin
Anthony McPartlin
& Declan Donnelly
Declan Donnelly
(2010) Graham Norton
Graham Norton
(2011-2012) Alan Carr
Alan Carr
(2013) Anthony McPartlin
Anthony McPartlin
& Declan Donnelly
Declan Donnelly
(2014-2015) Leigh Francis (2016) Michael McIntyre
Michael McIntyre

v t e

BAFTA Fellowship recipients


Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
(1971) Freddie Young (1972) Grace Wyndham Goldie (1973) David Lean
David Lean
(1974) Jacques Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau
(1975) Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1976) Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1976) Denis Forman (1977) Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann
(1978) Lew Grade
Lew Grade
(1979) Huw Wheldon
Huw Wheldon
(1979) David Attenborough
David Attenborough
(1980) John Huston
John Huston
(1980) Abel Gance
Abel Gance
(1981) Michael Powell
Michael Powell
& Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
(1981) Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda
(1982) Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
(1983) Hugh Greene (1984) Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
(1984) Jeremy Isaacs (1985) Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
(1986) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1987) Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
(1988) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1989) Paul Fox (1990) Louis Malle
Louis Malle
(1991) John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1992) David Plowright (1992) Sydney Samuelson (1993) Colin Young (1993) Michael Grade
Michael Grade
(1994) Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
(1995) Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau
(1996) Ronald Neame
Ronald Neame
(1996) John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger
(1996) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1996) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(1997) Steven Bochco
Steven Bochco
(1997) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
(1997) Oswald Morris (1997) Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter
(1997) David Rose (1997) Sean Connery
Sean Connery
(1998) Bill Cotton
Bill Cotton
(1998) Eric Morecambe
Eric Morecambe
& Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
(1999) Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
(1999) Michael Caine
Michael Caine
(2000) Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
(2000) Peter Bazalgette
Peter Bazalgette


Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(2001) John Thaw
John Thaw
(2001) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(2001) Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
(2002) Merchant Ivory Productions (2002) Andrew Davies (2002) John Mills
John Mills
(2002) Saul Zaentz
Saul Zaentz
(2003) David Jason (2003) John Boorman
John Boorman
(2004) Roger Graef (2004) John Barry (2005) David Frost
David Frost
(2005) David Puttnam
David Puttnam
(2006) Ken Loach
Ken Loach
(2006) Anne V. Coates (2007) Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis
(2007) Will Wright (2007) Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
(2008) Bruce Forsyth
Bruce Forsyth
(2008) Dawn French
Dawn French
& Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer Saunders
(2009) Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam
(2009) Nolan Bushnell
Nolan Bushnell
(2009) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(2010) Shigeru Miyamoto
Shigeru Miyamoto
(2010) Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg
(2010) Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
(2011) Peter Molyneux
Peter Molyneux
(2011) Trevor McDonald (2011) Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
(2012) Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris
(2012) Alan Parker
Alan Parker
(2013) Gabe Newell
Gabe Newell
(2013) Michael Palin
Michael Palin
(2013) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2014) Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games
(2014) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(2014) Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh
(2015) David Braben (2015) Jon Snow (2015) Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier
(2016) John Carmack
John Carmack
(2016) Ray Galton & Alan Simpson (2016) Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
(2017) Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley
(2017) Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 79174887 LCCN: n50014420 ISNI: 0000 0000 8159 2108 SUDOC: 078696879 BNF: cb14066981q (data) BNE: XX1736131 SN