Queer Places:
1 and 2 Queen's Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5EH, UK
Fairwater House, 34 Twickenham Rd, Teddington TW11 8AY, UK
22 Westrow Gardens, Southampton SO15 2LZ
Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton

Benny Hill Smiling.jpgAlfred Hawthorne "Benny" Hill (21 January 1924 – 20 April 1992) was an English actor, comedian, singer and writer. He is remembered for his television programme The Benny Hill Show, an amalgam of slapstick, burlesque and double entendre in a format that included live comedy and filmed segments, with Hill at the focus of almost every segment. Hill was a prominent figure in British television for several decades. His show was among the most-watched programmes in the UK, with the audience peaking at more than 21 million in 1971.[2] The Benny Hill Show was also exported to half the countries around the world.[3] He received a BAFTA Television Award for Best Writer and a Rose d'Or, and was nominated for the BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance and two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety. In 2006, Hill was voted by the British public number 17 in ITV's poll of TV's 50 Greatest Stars.[4] Outside of television, Hill starred in films including the Ealing comedy Who Done It? (1956), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and The Italian Job (1969). His comedy song "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)" was 1971's Christmas number one on the UK Singles Chart and earned Hill an Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors in 1972.

Hill never owned his own home in London and instead preferred to rent a flat rather than buy one.[31] He rented a double-room apartment on London's Queen's Gate for 26 years until around 1986 when he moved to Fairwater House in Teddington. While looking for somewhere to live, he stayed at 22 Westrow Gardens in Southampton.[32] Despite being a millionaire, he continued with the frugal habits that he picked up from his parents, such as buying cheap food at supermarkets, walking for miles rather than paying for a taxi unless someone picked up the tab for a limousine, and constantly patching and mending the same clothes.[31] Hill never married and he had no children. He had proposed to two women, but neither accepted. Shortly after his death in 1992, actress Annette Andre said that she turned down his proposal of marriage in the early 1960s.[33] Rumours circulated that he was gay, but he always laughingly denied them.[34] Hill was a Francophile and enjoyed visits to France, including to Marseille, where until the 1980s, he could go to outdoor cafes anonymously, travelling on public transport and socialising with local women.[34] He spoke French fluently and also knew basic German, Spanish, Dutch and Italian.[34] Foreign travel was the only luxury that he permitted himself, and even then, he would stay in modest accommodations.[31]

Hill's health declined in the late 1980s. After a mild heart attack on 24 February 1992, doctors told him he needed to lose weight and recommended a heart bypass. He declined, and a week later was found to have kidney failure. He died at the age of 68 on 20 April 1992.[1] Two days later, after several days of unanswered telephone calls[35] he was found dead in his armchair in front of the television. The cause of death was recorded as coronary thrombosis.[36] Hill was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery near his birthplace in Southampton, on 26 April 1992. Probate was granted on Hill's estate in London on 5 June 1992, when its value at the time of his death was given as £7,548,192, equivalent to £16,000,000 in 2020.[37] Writing his will three decades before his death, he left the bulk of his estate to his parents (who had predeceased him); ultimately, the estate was divided among Hill's seven nieces and nephews.[38] During the night of 4 October 1992, following speculation in the media that Hill had been buried with a large amount of gold and jewellery, grave robbers excavated the grave at Hollybrook Cemetery and broke open the coffin, the open grave being noticed by a passer-by the following morning. After a police examination of the scene, the coffin was re-closed and the grave filled back in by cemetery workers, and as a security measure, a 1-foot (300 mm)-thick concrete slab was placed over it.[39]


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