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"Little Jackie" Wright

John "Jackie" Wright was an Irish comedian, best known for being the bald-headed sidekick of comedian Benny Hill.
Wright was born around 1905 in Belfast, Ireland, the eldest of twelve children. He briefly worked as an automobile body assembler in the United States for Cadillac, but when the Great Depression occurred, he returned to Ireland and started working in the movie industry, getting work as a musician and as a supporting comedian.
Not getting into television until 1960, he became friends with Benny Hill at the BBC, later joining his comedy troop at Thames Television. Wright also appeared on the short-lived 1973 series, "Whoops Baghdad," starring Frankie Howerd, and had a small role in the musical comedy film, "Three for All," in 1975. Despite his other appearances, he was best known for his appearances on "The Benny Hill Show," sometimes appearing in drag but often getting slapped on the top of his head. According to cast members, Jackie was a chain smoker and would often hide his cigarette in his mouth or behind his back during scenes. The slapping actually started out as a way of waving the smoke away.
Through the series, Jackie was temporarily replaced several times, notably by John Vyvyan and Don Estelle. Only 4 feet, 11 inches tall, Wright's diminutive stature and strong Northern Irish accent became assets to the comedy, but as his health worsened, he left the show in 1983, and he was replaced by Johnny Hutch. Benny invited Jackie back a few times with bed scenes that were easier for him to handle, as well as creating sketches for Jackie that aired after he had left so he would keep getting residuals. Five and a half years later, Wright died at the age of 83 in a Belfast hospital after battling a long, undisclosed illness. Having never married, he was survived by his sister, who he shared a home with when he he wasn't filming the series in Teddington.

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