April 20, 2021

Tony Hendra, a Multiplatform Humorist, Is Dead at 79

In 2005 Ms. Hendra published a memoir of her own, “How to Cook Your Daughter,” in which she recounted what she said had been done to her. Mr. Hendra denied her accusations.

Anthony Christopher Hendra was born on July 10, 1941, in Willesden, England, northwest of London. His mother, he wrote in “Father Joe,” was a “good Catholic” but “didn’t allow the precepts of the Gospels and their chief spokesman to interfere much with her daily round of gossip, bitching, kid-slapping, neighbor-bashing, petty vengeance, and other middle-class peccadilloes.” His father was not Catholic but because of his job — he was a stained-glass artist — “spent far more time inside churches and knew far more about Catholic iconography than his nominally Catholic brood.”

Mr. Hendra attended St. Albans School, in southeast England, and was intent on becoming a monk when, he wrote in his memoir, Father Joe advised him instead to accept the scholarship he had been offered at Cambridge. There he became less preoccupied with religion and more interested in satire. By 1961 he was performing with the Cambridge Footlights theatrical group, doing comic routines in its annual revue as part of a cast that included John Cleese and Graham Chapman, who later in the decade would be among the founders of the groundbreaking Monty Python.

Mr. Hendra formed a comedic partnership with Mr. Ullett, the two “purveying a nightclub-accessible form of the then fashionable political satire launched by ‘Beyond the Fringe’ and ‘That Was the Week That Was,’” as Mr. Hendra put it in a 1998 article in Harper’s Magazine, name-checking two pillars of late-’50s and early-’60s British comedy. In London they shared a bill with the American comic Jackie Mason, who offered to help them give New York a try.

In 1964 they did. One of their first appearances was at the Greenwich Village club Café Au Go Go, opening for Lenny Bruce.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/05/arts/television/tony-hendra-dead.html

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