For the American businessman and academic, see Henry W. McGee.
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Henry James Marris-McGee
14 May 1929
Kensington, London, England
|Died||28 January 2006 (aged 76)|
|Resting place||Brompton Cemetery, London|
|Known for||Benny Hill's straight man|
Henry James Marris-McGee (14 May 1929 – 28 January 2006) was a British actor, best known as straight man to Benny Hill for many years. McGee was also often the announcer on Hill's TV programme, delivering the upbeat intro "Yes! It's The Benny Hill Show!". He was familiar to British children throughout the 1970s as "Mummy" in the Sugar Puffs commercials, the catchphrase of which was "Tell them about the honey, Mummy".
McGee was born in South Kensington, London, and educated at Stonyhurst College, McGee hoped to become a doctor, but the death of his father when he was 17 put financial strains on the family that ended his plans. Having enjoyed acting as a boy, McGee decided to follow his mother's side of the family, which could trace its involvement in acting back to Kitty Clive. He went on to play supporting roles in films and television series and dramas, including The Italian Job (1969), The Saint and The Avengers, but it is for comedy roles that he is best remembered, primarily and most famously for his straight man interviewer in The Benny Hill Show. He was also remembered by some as the 'mummy' of Honey Monster, a large, yellow, furry creature in advertisements for the breakfast cereal Sugar Puffs.
McGee played Two-Ton Ted in the video of "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)". Other comedy roles included the holiday centre manager in the 1973 film Holiday on the Buses, officious policemen in Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976) and Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978), the TV presenter Harold Hump in Carry On Emmannuelle (1978), opposite Charlie Drake in the ATV/ITV situation comedy The Worker (1965–1978), and There Was An Englishman, An Irishman and a Scotsman, a BBC Scotland comedy series written by Lew Schwarz. McGee was the Englishman, with Harry Towb as the Irishman and Roy Kinnear as the Scot. The show ran for one season in 1972. He also appeared in an episode of Rising Damp as a conman, Seymour. In 2003, he appeared in the episode "The Miraculous Curing of Old Goff Helliwell" in Last of the Summer Wine. He had a long and successful theatre career, during which he tackled a wide range of roles, receiving plaudits for deadpan delivery in farces such as Plunder.
- Seven Days to Noon (1950) - Soldier Marching Next to Jackson (uncredited)
- Sailor Beware! (1956) - Milkman (uncredited)
- Fanatic (1965) - Rector (uncredited)
- The Italian Job (1969) - Tailor (uncredited)
- Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973) - TV Announcer
- Holiday on the Buses (1973) - Holiday Camp Manager
- The Cherry Picker (1974) - Pilkington
- The Best of Benny Hill (1974) - Himself / Rodney Fairchild / Customs Agent / Various
- Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976) - Inspector Rogers
- Come Play with Me (1977) - Deputy Prime Minister
- Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) - Officer Bardot
- Carry On Emmannuelle (1978) - Harold Hump
- Asterix Conquers America (1994) - Caesar (English version, voice)