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.
To see local Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.