Claude Dampier

Claude Dampier

With ventriloquist dummy head modelled on his own, c.1900
Born Claud Conolly Cowan
Clapham, London, England
Died 1 January 1955
Ashford, Middlesex, England
Resting place Golders Green Crematorium
Occupation Actor, Comedian
Spouse(s) Irene Vere
Billie Carlyle[1]
Children Dorothy Dampier

Claude Dampier (1879-1955) was an English film actor and popular character comedian in the early 20th century.[2][3]


He was born in Clapham, South London as Claud Conolly Cowan.

He played largely comic roles, first appearing in music hall acts and then moving to both film and radio comedies. Dampier usually appeared as a dim-witted 'silly ass' type, often billed as 'The Professional Idiot'.[4][5] He was best remembered for his post-war Jewel and Warriss radio shows, where he adopted the catch-phrase "it's me-ee".[6]

Dampier toured Australia with Edward Branscombe’s Dandies troupes between 1910 and 1917. He revisited the country in 1921, and starred in two Australian films before returning to England.[7]

He married Australian actress Billie Carlyle (c1901-1991), who appeared as a 'straight-woman' in his act.[8] They met whilst acting in the silent film The Adventures of Algy (1925).[9] Carlyle later wrote a book, Claude Dampier, Mrs. Gibson & Me (1978).[10][11] 'Mrs. Gibson' was Dampier's gimmick (apparently developed accidentally), a fictitious member of the audience with whom he spoke throughout his act.[3]

Dampier is the father of actress Dorothy Dampier.[4][12]

He died in 1955 in London of pneumonia.[13] of pneumonia.

He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in north London on 4 January 1955. His ashes lie in section 1-L of the Garden of Remembrance.[14]



External links

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