Claude Dampier

Claude Dampier (1879-1955) was an English film actor and popular character comedian in the early 20th century.[2][3]

Claude Dampier
Postcard c. 1910s
Claud Conolly Cowan

Died1 January 1955
Resting placeGolders Green Crematorium
OccupationActor, Comedian
Spouse(s)Irene Vere
Billie Carlyle[1]
ChildrenDorothy Dampier


He was born in Clapham, South London as Claud Conolly Cowan.[2][3]

He played largely comic roles, first appearing in music hall acts and then moving to both film and radio comedies. Dampier usually appeared as a dim-witted 'silly ass' type, often billed as 'The Professional Idiot'.[4][5] He was best remembered for his post-war Jewel and Warriss radio shows, where he adopted the catch-phrase "it's me-ee".[6]

Dampier toured Australia with Edward Branscombe's Dandies troupes between 1910 and 1917. He revisited the country in 1921, and starred in two Australian films before returning to England.[1]

He married Australian actress Billie Carlyle (c1901-1991), who appeared as a 'straight-woman' in his act.[7] They met whilst acting in the silent film The Adventures of Algy (1925).[8] Carlyle later wrote a book, Claude Dampier, Mrs. Gibson & Me (1978).[9][10] 'Mrs. Gibson' was Dampier's gimmick (apparently developed accidentally), a fictitious member of the audience with whom he spoke throughout his act.[3]

Dampier is the father of actress Dorothy Dampier.[4][11]

He died in 1955 in London of pneumonia.[12]

He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in north London on 4 January 1955. His ashes lie in section 1-L of the Garden of Remembrance.[13]



  1. Clay Djubal. "Claude Dampier" at Australian Variety Theatre Archive. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  2. "Claude Dampier". BFI.
  3. "Claude Dampier".
  4. HistoryForSale Autographs: Authentic Autographs & Manuscripts. "HistoryForSale - Autographs and Manuscripts - Claude Dampier - Autograph Sentiment Signed - Document 160864".
  5. "' Top of the Bill ' CLAUDE DAMPIER".
  6. Quinlan's Film Character Actors:David Quinlan
  8. /search/summary/summary.w3p;adv=no;group=;groupequals=;page=0;parentid=;query=Person%3A"%2FPerson%2Fkey%2F48069-1";querytype=;resCount=10
  9. "Claude Dampier, Mrs Gibson and me / by Billie Carlyle. - Version details - Trove".
  10. "Claude Dampier".
  11. "Dorothy Dampier". BFI.
  12. "Claude Dampier (1879 - 1955) - Find A Grave Memorial".
  13. Golders Green Crematorium information guide

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