Les Dawson (2 February 1933 (1934?) - 10 June 1993) was a popular Lancashire comedian, known for his deadpan style. Dawson was a curmudgeon, famous for jokes about his mother-in-law and his wife.
Dawson began his entertainment career as a club pianist ("I finally heard some applause from a bald man and said 'thank you for clapping me' and he said 'I'm not clapping - I'm slapping me head to keep awake.'"), but found that he got more laughs by playing wrong notes and complaining to the audience. He made his television debut in the talent show, Opportunity Knocks, and was seldom absent from British television screens in the years that followed. His best known routines featured Roy Barraclough and Dawson as two elderly women, Cissie Braithwaite and Ada Sidebottom who, having worked in a mill in their youth, spoke some words aloud and mouthed others; they also repeatedly pushed up their bosoms, in pantomime dame style. Dawson's humour, though earthy, was seldom coarse, and he was as popular with female as with male audiences.
Before his fame Dawson wrote poetry - a guilty secret for someone of his earthy background - and he harboured literary ambitions throughout his career. He wrote many novels but was always regarded solely as an entertainer in the public imagination, and this saddened him.
Having broken his jaw in a boxing match, Dawson was able to pull grotesque faces by pulling his jaw over his upper lip.
Television series in which he appeared included Sez Les, The Les Dawson Show, Dawson's Weekly, and the quiz show Blankety Blank, which he presented for some years.
A Clown Too Many (autobiography, 1986)
No Tears for a Clown
Hitler Was My Mother-in-Law
Well Fared, My Lovely
Come Back with the Wind
The Blade and the Passion
Card for the Clubs
Malady Lingers on and Other Great Groaners
Les Dawson's Lancashire
A Time Before Genesis
Les Dawson Gives Up
Cosmo Smallpiece Guide to Male Liberation