Walter William Bygraves OBE

Web Site: Max Bygraves’ official website

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An English comedian, singer, actor and variety performer. He appeared on his own television shows, sometimes performing comedy sketches between songs. Shows he presented included the gameshow Family Fortunes.

Max Bygraves was the son of poor parents in southeast London docklands. His father was a professional boxer known as Battling Tom Smith, and a casual dockworker. Max went to St. Joseph’s Primary School in Rotherhithe. He showed talent as a child singer and performed a solo in Westminster Cathedral.

Max Bygraves was enormously popular in postwar England, releasing a steady stream of popular “singalong” records while being widely seen and heard on television, radio, and in the movies. His most famous catch phrase was “I wanna tell you a story!”; his own story is a real-life tale of rags to riches.

Walter William Bygraves was one of six children of Battling Tom Smith, a flyweight professional boxer and occasional dockworker, in a rough part of London. Bygraves showed his talent early, singing and doing impersonations for customers along his paper route and at parties, and was tapped for a solo performance at Westminster Abbey under the sponsorship of his music teacher.

He joined the RAF at the start of the second World War, and on his first night in the barracks entertained his fellow troops with an impersonation of “The Cheeky Chappie,” a 1930s music hall comedian named Max Miller. His fellow soldiers started calling him “Max,” and the name stuck.

He married WAAF sergeant Blossom Murray in 1942.

In 1951 he appeared at the London Palladium. Comedian Eric Sykes became his scriptwriter. He got the part of the tutor in the BBC radio comedy show Educating Archie, where Archie was a ventriloquist’s dummy. This made his name nationally and he appeared in a Royal Variety Show. Judy Garland invited him to support her for a season in New York.

He acted in several films, notably as Charley Moon in the film of the same name.

He was awarded the OBE in 1982.

For many years Max, his wife and son Anthony, lived in the Alum Chine area of Bournemouth. Whilst living there he noticed a guest house named “LingaLonga” and from this got the idea for his series of “SingaLonga” albums.

During the 1990s he bought an 84-acre (340,000 m2) property in northern New South Wales, Australia called Attunga Park.

Max Bygraves lived in Sanctuary Cove, Queensland with his wife Blossom.

Bygraves married WAAF sergeant Gladys (known as Blossom) Murray in 1942. The couple have three children: Christine, Anthony, and Maxine. Bygraves also has three other children: John Rice, Beverly Mayhew-Sass, and Stephen Rose.

Bygraves and his wife moved from Bournemouth to Queensland, Australia, in 2008.

In 2012 Bygraves’ daughter announced that her father was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Bygraves died on 31 August 2012 at his daughter’s home in Hope Island, Queensland, Australia, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.


Albums include.

Sing Along With Max
Sing Along With Max Volume 2
Around The World
You Make Me Feel Like Singing A Song
Viva ! Congalongamax
I Wanna Sing You A Story
Ling A Long A Max
Ling A Long A Max Volume 2
100 Golden Greats
The World Of Max Bygraves
The World Of Max Bygraves Volume 2
Max Bygraves Sings
Max Bygraves: At His Very Best
The Best Of Max Bygraves
I’m Moving On
Spotlight On Max Bygraves
Something Old, Something New
Happy Hits
The Wonderful World Of Max Bygraves
Max Bygraves Rolls On
Songs For Young In Heart
Hits Of The Twenties (with Ted Heath)
Hits Of The Thirties (with Ted Heath)
The Song And Dance Men (with Victor Silvester)
Max Bygraves: The Collection
Unbeatable Bygraves
Nursery Rhymes For Grown Ups
The Best Of His Hits Of The 50’s
Big Head
You’re My Everything
The Best Of Max
Twogether (with Acker Bilk)
Max A Million: Golden Greats Of The 20’s
Max A Million: Golden Greats Of The 30’s
Max A Million: Golden Greats Of The 40’s
Max A Million: Golden Greats Of The 50’s
Max A Million: Golden Greats Of The 60’s
Party Sing-Along
True Love
You Are My Sunshine
You Need Hands
What A Wonderful World
Wandrin Star
The Old Fashioned Way
The Singalong Collection
Sing It Again Max
Singalongawaryears Volume 2
50 Golden Years

Selected filmography.

The Nitwits on Parade (1949)
Bless ‘Em All (1949)
Skimpy in the Navy (1949)
Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1951)
Charley Moon (1956)
A Cry from the Streets (1958)
Bobbikins (1959)
Spare the Rod (1961)

Television”Whack-O!” (1960)
“The Royal Variety Performance” (1963)
“It’s Sad About Eddie (1964)
“Max” (1969–1974)
“Family Fortunes” (1983–1985)
“The Mind Of David Berglas (1986)
“Call Up The Stars” (1995)