Grayson, Larry

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Grayson was born William S. White to an unmarried girl named Ethel White and adopted (or fostered - sources differ) by a coal miner's family named Hammond in Nuneaton. His adoptive/foster mother died when he was six and he was then raised by his two sisters (born-to daughters of the Hammonds).

He began his career aged 14 in local variety (his first stage name was Billy Breen), and it took over 30 years for him to hit the big time in 1972, on Saturday Variety, followed by his own series, Shut that Door. He then hosted The Generation Game from 1978 until he retired in 1981 and also did a number of pantomime seasons. He was known for his gentle, camp humor and the fact that he never lost touch with his working-class roots or his home town, where he continued to live until his death from a burst appendix.

He did not describe himself as gay, but was widely assumed to be, because of his stage persona.


Tredre, Roger. "Nuneaton Mourns End of Larry's Gay Days," Observer [London], 8 January 1995
Pritchard, Suzi. "Happy as Larry," The Guardian [London], 10 January 1995


Uk/great Britain
20th Century
Theater, Broadcasting, Cinema
Figures Whose Adoption or Fostering Is Fictitious, Disputed or Unconfirmed
Formal, American/European-Type Adoption
Formal, American/European-Type Fostering
Birth or Infancy
Unmarried Mother, Single Parent (Mother or Father) Unable to Cope
Others ("Strangers")
Adoptive/Foster Family Included Birth Child(ren)
Divorce or Premature Death of Adoptive Parent(s)
Unmarried Mother
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