A blue plaque for the Welsh comedienne Gladys Morgan (1898-1983) will be unveiled at 30, Salisbury Road, Worthing, BN11 1RD on Tuesday 11th December at 2pm.
Gladys was born in Swansea in 1898 and had to wait until middle age before achieving national fame when she appeared on the popular radio show Welsh Rarebit in 1950. She was an immediate success, staying with the show for 3 years, and received a fan letter from Frankie Howerd, who then booked her on his radio and TV shows. She later starred in the very popular 50s radio show Educating Archie as well as all the big variety shows around at that time including Midday Music Hall, Blackpool Night and Workers Playtime on the radio and Sunday Night At The London Palladium on television. In 1956 Gladys was chosen to represent radio and TV at the Women Of The Year lunch at the Savoy Hotel in London.
In addition Gladys toured incessantly appearing at all the big variety theatres (where she was known as either ‘The Welsh Queen of Comedy’ or ‘Britain’s Longest Mirthquake’) and in 1961 starred at the London Palladium with her friend, Frankie Vaughan. She was also a favourite in summer revues and pantomimes throughout Britain and headlined the Revue Company at Butlin’s camps for three years. In the 1960s Gladys and her family made five tours of South Africa in an old time music hall show, proving so popular that she made her own radio series for Springbok Radio. In 1965 she starred in the film The Wild Affair opposite Terry-Thomas and Nancy Kwan.
Gladys was a comedienne of the old school. Her style was big and broad, although physically Gladys was the exact opposite being a petite 4’10” tall. She had a vividly expressive face with a toothless smile and was famous for her huge cackle of a laugh. Gladys would either appear as a solo stand-up comedienne or with her family in sketches when she would be billed as Gladys Morgan and Company. That company included her husband Frank, her daughter Joan and Joan’s husband Bert. Even the family dog, Pluto, was involved!
Gladys lived in Worthing from 1958 until her death in 1983