Gorden Kaye

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Gorden Kaye
BornGordon Fitzgerald Kaye
(1941-04-07) 7 April 1941 (age 71)
Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Other namesGordon Kay
Gordon Kaye
OccupationActor
Years active1968-present
 
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Gorden Kaye
BornGordon Fitzgerald Kaye
(1941-04-07) 7 April 1941 (age 71)
Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Other namesGordon Kay
Gordon Kaye
OccupationActor
Years active1968-present

Gorden Kaye (born as Gordon Fitzgerald Kaye on 7 April 1941 in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire) is a BAFTA-nominated English comic actor of Maltese descent, best known for playing René Artois in the British TV comedy 'Allo 'Allo!.

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Early life

As a youngster, he played rugby league for Moldgreen ARLFC before studying at King James's Grammar School, Almondbury, Huddersfield.[1]

Career

After first coming to prominence playing Elsie Tanner's nephew Bernard Butler in the UK's long-running soap opera Coronation Street in 1969, he later made an impression on producer/writer David Croft following guest roles in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Are You Being Served? and Come Back Mrs Noah. In 1979, Kaye featured as Dimes in the feature film Porridge alongside Ronnie Barker.

Croft offered him the lead role in a series he had written called Oh, Happy Band! but Kaye was unavailable and the part went to Harry Worth. Oh, Happy Band! disappeared after one series and, in 1982, Croft sent Kaye the script for the pilot episode of 'Allo 'Allo! inviting him to play the central character of René Artois. He accepted and appeared in all 85 episodes and productions of the stage version.

Kaye had a small part in Terry Gilliam's film Brazil as desk clerk M.O.I. Lobby Porter.

Kaye is the author of a 1989 autobiography, Rene & Me: A Sort of Autobiography (with Hilary Bonner, ISBN 0-283-99965-9) in which he describes his experiences as a shy, gay, overweight, typecast youth. The unusual spelling of the name Gorden (usually spelt Gordon) was the result of an British Actors' Equity Association typing error.[citation needed]

Kaye suffered serious head injuries in a car accident during the Burns' Day storm on 25 January 1990.[2] Although he cannot remember any details of the incident, he still has a scar on his forehead from a piece of wooden advertising boarding that smashed through the car windscreen.

While recovering in hospital from emergency brain surgery to treat injuries sustained in the accident, Kaye was photographed and interviewed by Sunday Sport journalist Roger Ordish. He sued the Sunday Sport, but the Court of Appeal held that there was no remedy in English law for an invasion of privacy. See Kaye v Robertson.

Kaye returned as Rene Artois in a 2007 one-off television revival of 'Allo 'Allo and in a stage show in Brisbane, Australia, at the Twelfth Night Theatre in June and July, alongside Sue Hodge as Mimi Labonq and Guy Siner as Lieutenant Gruber. The other characters were portrayed by Australian actors, including Katy Manning, Steven Tandy, Chloe Dallimore, Jason Gann and Tony Alcock.[3]

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