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Ted Durante

Blue Collar Rat


Water Rat register Number: 688. Initiated into the Order on 18 June 1972.

Proposer: Charles Lane. Seconder: Tommy Wallis (Plummer)

"Ted Durante was above all BLOODY FUNNY". From his Classic tramp-clown routine, to his dynamic acrobatic cabaret act with wife, Hilda, Ted ?made em laugh", wherever he went. Son of Britain?s strongest man and world weight lifting champion Edward Aston, Ted was a skilled acrobat and performed with his partner George Mooney for many years on the Moss Empire circuit with a dynamic balancing and acrobatic act. They performed at the 'Follies Bergere' in Paris and all the major London theatres.

Ted was cast in the classic 'Cinderella' opposite Kenneth Williams playing ugly sister in the Original London Cast with Tommy Steele, Jimmy Edwards, and Yana. He met his wife Hilda in a pantomime at the Camberwell Palace and they began a double act career that spanned half a century. Ted was resident compere of the ATV show "Comedy Bandbox" in the 1960's. This was a comedy show that introduced up and coming talent. One of his first discoveries was Jimmy Tarbuck. He was a special guest star on the Tommy Cooper show, and was a regular with Ken Dodd, and Larry Grayson. He toured South Africa with Frankie Howard and Canada and the US with Max Bygraves show. Ted and Hilda were the act to book on the Cabaret circuit playing the Savoy, Dorchester and Hilton, sometimes doing 4 different venues in one night. Ted's off beat zany humour delighted all audiences young and old. Ted and Hilda played summer season all over the country including Butlins at Filey and Skegness, Margate, Bognor, Folkestone, Yarmouth, Clacton and produced and stared in the 'Ted Durante Show' in Cromer for three hugely successful years.

Ted was initiated into the Grand Order of Water Rats in 1972 - one of the highest honours in the entertainment business.

Perhaps best known for their Old Time Strongman comedy routine, performed 20 times on BBC Variety classic 'The Good Old Days', with Leonard Sacks. Ted won the hearts of audiences and performers alike, appearing with Roy Hudd in the Panto, 'Babes in the Woods'.

Ted developed Alzheimer's in the early 1990's, but still enjoyed a fun filled life with the help of his darling Hilda, still managing to be her consort when she was inaugurated Queen Ratling in 2000. Sadly, Ted's condition became too severe and he was placed in care in Caterham where he has lived for 5 years. He is survived by son Lance and daughter Jay, Sister Jean and Brother Douglas.

"Lookout Pearly Gates you're in for some big laughs".

Written by his daughter Jay Aston
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