Sadly, recently, marked death British actor, Gorden Kaye, consummate comedian ‘bar none’ aged 75. Started with Coronation Street, back in late 1960s. Remember him well…tall, lean, good looking lad…nephew to stunning character Elsie Tanner! This, springboard for opportunity…progression to ‘Allo ‘Allo…the longest running, successful comedy series of all time. Popular 80s sitcom ran from 1982 to 1992! He was Rene Artois, permanently frustrated owner/operator of Cafe Artois. Sitcom set in fictional, German-occupied France during Wold War 2. Action centered on cafe, where Gestapo, German officers, escaped Allied POWs, and backdrop French Resistance all intertwined. Result: hilarious comedy, steamy action, good looking women everywhere! Series produced many memorable characters, included Rene, wife Edith…remember rejoinder: `You stupid woman!. Waitress voluptuous, played by Vicki Michelle, and Hubert Gruber…the Nazi lieutenant, by Guy Siner. Gorden, appeared ALL 84 episodes and 1200 stage performances! Tragically, during storm on Robbie Burns night, January 25th. 1990, advertising board smashed through his car window, causing devastating head injuries. Emergency surgery at London hospital, within ‘magic one hour’,…with so-called ‘recovery’…but instead, was it lasting, progressive brain damage? Gorden Kaye, Head Injury.
Gorden, born…Gordon…Huddersfield, Yorkshire, April 1941, an only child…as my grandmother used to say… and prophetic here, ‘an only child, a lonely child!’ Gorden Kaye, Head Injury.
Parents working class, mother 42 at his birth. The British Actors’ Equity Association classic typing name error, with an ‘e’ instead of an ‘o’…in those days no argument! When left school, worked hospital radio, and even interviewed Beatles in 1965…he had something going for him! Acted local theater and ‘spotted’ by Pat Phoenix who played Elsie Tanner…thus opportunity!
He never married…I believe was indeed lonely, his life his profession…the head injury….far more serious than thought, and he had no memory of accident. Surely contributor dementia…which he suffered last years. Another time bomb…perhaps tendency to gut fat and weight issues…reality likely diabetes prone…an early victim of metabolic syndrome issues, or “Insulin Resistance Syndrome“? Sitcom favor French wine…’fine’…but alcohol contributor insulin resistance. Tragically, towards end, such a cerebral brilliant man, was in his own world, not even recognizing himself, nor cousin. But lifelong loneliness?…no ‘real’ spouse, no ‘real’ close relationships …FACTOR?…indeed ‘an only child IS a lonely child’! Gorden Kaye, Head Injury.