Jon Jon Keefe is a British actor, comedian, singer, empresario and entertainer best known for his appearances on "The Benny Hill Show."
Born Brian Kearney on January 21, 1940 in Bethnal Green, England, he grew up in the Banjo, a neighborhood near Dagenham, England, although his family was often moving around to avoid the shells and bombs being dropped during the war. He was a member of a strong Irish Catholic family, raised by a step-father who was a soldier in the British Army and later an employee at the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham. His mother was a dress-maker in Aldgate. He attended St. Joseph Roman Catholic School and St. Ethelburga's Roman Catholic Comprehension in Bargham, ten miles away. He played football and had a younger brother named Patrick.
Keefe started singing when he was nine-years-old and entered several talent shows over his life. After leaving school at 15, he had a succession of jobs during the day and started hanging out in night clubs as soon as he was of age, singing at night in the pubs and clubs of London’s East End. He soon successfully auditioned to join a vocal group and went on to perform at The London Palladium and the Windmill Theater over the next five years, performing in Europe before he deciding to go solo.
As an adult, he took the name Jon Jon Keefe from a boy he knew in school as his professional name. He had a starring role at the Talk of the Town nightclub in London's Leicester Square. In 1983, Benny Hill was in attendance at one of his shows and liked his voice so much he passed Keefe a note offering him a place on his show without an audition. Although he hedged on the offer for a few days, he finally called Benny and ended up becoming one of Benny's top cast members on the series. Starting out as a dancer, Keefe was with the series for nineteen years, later describing in his book, I Was Benny Hill’s Toy Boy, the close family relationship of the stars of the show. While working on the show, he was still singing at night, and after the show ended, he became an impresario at North London’s most famous nightclub, The Starlight Room, in Enfield, where he booked the acts with some of the biggest stars in the industry, such as Tony Bennett, Billy Eckstine, Tommy Cooper, Bob Monkhouse and Jack Jones. His time on the show was briefly cut short because of a casting agent, but when Dennis Kirkland joined in 1985, he and Benny invited him back. Jon Jon's closest friends on the show were Dennis and Bob Todd. Although Benny was a loyal friend, he was mostly often busy writing new material.
During his run on the show, Jon Jon performed as both a singer and sketch performer, playing a lot of good-looking male roles, possibly becoming best known for playing the Gay Caballero. His singing voice was featured in many musical performances, particularly in the out-standing duet with Erica Lynley in the Club Bizarre performance. After the show ended, he approached both Benny and Dennis about privately recreating the series under their own production company, but their plans were waylaid by Dan Taffner's plans to create a series that later became Benny Hill's World Tour: New York. Keefe later starred in the British TV series, "Rumpole of the Bailey." Today, he is currently married with three kids. His memoir, I Was Benny Hill’s Toy Boy, was published in 2009.
- Pepy's Diary
- Holding Out for a Hero
- The Crook Report
- Club Chicago-Go
- The Halitosis Kid
- R. Dibble: Handyman
- The Herd
- Cagney and Lacey
- Forever Love
- The B-Team
- The Hot Shoe Show
- Talking Point
- Big Poppa (unconfirmed)
- The Monte Carbolic Show
- Film Time at the Natural Film Theatre
- The Great British Dancing Finals
- Spot Black
- The Dalton Abbott Railway Choir