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Len Lowe

Past King Rat


ALTHOUGH LEN Lowe will always be recalled by variety lovers as one half of that once highly popular double act, Len and Bill Lowe, he had a lone solo career either side of that particular high point in hilarity. The talented brothers were in fact but two-thirds of a trio, the other brother going under the double stage names of Chester Ladd and, latterly, Don Smoothey. All three were soloists in laughter and were, at one time or another, partners in doubled-up acts of traditional crosstalk comedy.

Leonard Lowe was born in Fulham, London, in 1915. All three brothers were destined by their parents for stage careers, although variety was not the original aim. A star pupil at the Italia Conti School for juveniles with theatrical ambitions, Len made his first West End appearance in Miss Conti's annual production for parents, Where the Rainbow Ends. From there he went into another West End Christmas regular, Peter Pan, and thence into the original production of Noel Coward's massive docu-drama Cavalcade at Drury Lane. When Fox made the film version in Hollywood, young Len's role was taken by the equally young Dickie Henderson Jnr.

Blessed with a good singing voice and expertise on the guitar, the teenaged Lowe was welcomed into Robert Atkins's first season at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park. He stayed with the company for two annual seasons of Shakespeare plays, in between including an appearance in the popular musical White Horse Inn at the London Coliseum.

Len Lowe was the Preceptor of The GOWR at the time of his passing, his brother Don Smoothey had also held the position of King Rat and we believe these are the only two brothers to have held the office of King Rat.
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