Len Lowe is an English actor best known for the movies "A Countess from Hong Kong," "Date with a Dream" and "Kindly Leave the Stage."
Born in Fulham, England on December 17, 1915, heattended the Italia Conti School for juveniles and made his first West End appearance in Miss Conti's annual production for parents, "Where the Rainbow Ends." He later became a West End Christmas regular in "Peter Pan."
In the Fifties, he started his career as a comedy act with his brother William Lowe, billing themselves as Chester Ladd and Don Smoothey, partners in doubled-up acts of traditional crosstalk comedy. Lowe joined the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park and stayed with the company for two seasons of Shakespeare plays, also making an appearance in the popular musical "White Horse Inn" at the London Coliseum. Entertainer Jack Hylton eventually spotted Lowe and added him to his dance orchestra as a guitarist and singer. Lowe soon made his appearance in Hylton's star-studded variety spectacular "Life Begins at Oxford Circus," the 1935 sensation at the London Palladium. Lowe also appeared in Hylton's big cinema success "She Shall Have Music," with June Clyde and Claude Dampier.
As a member of Hylton's band, Lowe did a tour of the United States for a tour, reteaming with his brother in 1938 using ideas he had seen in the United States and reformatted their acting, creating ideas later adopted by Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. They had several successful variety tours on the Stoll-Moss circuit before World War Two when they were called to join the RAF. They spent the war as headliners in shows produced by Ralph Reader, later appearing in "There's a Future in It" in 1943 with actress Ann Dvorak.
After the war, the boys graduated from beer halls to radio in such variety shows as "Henry Hall's Guest Night" and "Variety Bandbox." They also made appearances in feature films such as "Date with a Dream" and "Melody Club" in the lae Forties, working with Terry-Thomas, Harry Green and Jean Carson, who Bill married in 1950.
After splitting up the act, Len turned to his other brother, Don, to continue the act. He became known as Chester Ladd (a pun on the phrase "just a lad"), and together, they made a highly successful tour of Australia and New Zealand, returning home for fun at the seaside in several summer shows. They broke up after ony six years.
Reuniting with Jack Hylton, Lowe began working on television and started appearing in "The Dickie Henderson Half Hour," which became a top ITV comedy series of 1958. His other notable television series included "What a Life," "Kindly Leave the Stage" and "The Basil Brush Show," a children's series in which he co-starred with the David Nixon, Richard Baker and Fran Fullenwider. He also a small part in Charlie Chaplin's 'Countess From Hong Kong" in 1966 and Carry On Loving in 1970 with Sid James, Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey.
In 1984, Lowe was reunited with his brother Don in "Century of Stars," a massive special hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh celebrating the show-business charity, The Grand Order of Water Rats, joined by Roy Castle, Les Dawson, Bruce Forsyth, Bob and Alf Pearson, Tommy Trinder and Fred Russell, many of whom were members of the order with Len.
His last London stage appearance was in Windy City at the Victoria Palace. He passed away on August 21, 1999 in London, England, survived by his wife and two sons. He was 84.