(December 25, 1944 - April 4, 1995) U.K.
Disc jockey, comedian and television entertainer
Kenny was born Maurice James Christopher Cole in Liverpool. The son of a tug boatman, he lived in a working class area of Liverpool, England. He was educated at St Bede's Secondary Modern and Peter Claver College. Kenny considered joining the church but his first job was in a bakery. With a passion for radio and playing around with tape recorders, he sent a tape of a home-made programme to the BBC. This interested the Corporation enough to invite him down to London and he was interviewed on the Home Service's Midweek programme. Kenny hoped it would lead to a job with the BBC but it did not.
Instead he joined the new Radio London when it launched at Christmas 1964. He chose his new name from that of the Hollywood actor Edward Everett Horton and both his own show and the double headed programme he co-presented with Dave Cash, The Kenny and Cash Show, won a massive following. His writing and tape-editing skills were phenomenal and Kenny was responsible for many of Radio London's more creative advertisements, jingles and promotions. Unfortunately his humour was not always appreciated by the management and he was fired for six months after making fun of the sponsored religious show The World Tomorrow, the station's biggest advertiser.
Kenny joined The Beatles on their 1966 tour of the USA sending back reports on the concerts, sponsored by Bassett's Jelly Babies. Sharing the same Liverpool background, Kenny developed an obvious rapport with "the Fab Four". He left Radio London in March 1967 and worked on Radio Luxembourg and the BBC Light Programme, later joining Radio One at its launch. Although hugely popular he was soon in trouble again. He was constantly being told off for criticising the station in the press and when he joked on air that the wife of the then Minister of Transport had passed her advanced driving test by bribing the examiner, it was the final straw. He was sacked.
A genuinely original talent, a naturally funny man and a brilliantly skilled editor, he was a disc-jockey whose listeners eagerly awaited his every word. Alongside his radio success, Kenny also enjoyed a television career, starting with Nice Time for Granada in the sixties, later with Thames TV and then the BBC.
He presented some shows on BBC local radio and others on Radio Monte Carlo International, but it was the launch of London's Capital Radio in 1973 that returned him to the forefront of British broadcasting. Here he was reunited with his old partner Dave Cash and their Breakfast Show helped to establish the new station. From Capital, Kenny moved to BBC Radio 2 and then back again to Capital.
After many years of attempting to hide his own homosexuality, he was exposed by tabloid journalists; so, in 1985, he came out to the public at large. Unfortunately, he confided that, because his homosexuality had lead him twice to attempt suicide, he could not accept the "gay" label. He was roundly condemned by Gay Rights Organizations, the very people who could have given him some much needed support. In 1993 he confirmed newspaper reports that he was HIV-positive but continued presenting shows on Capital Gold until his death of Aids-related complications.
- The Kenny Everett Explosion
- Making Whoopee
- The Kenny Everett Video Show
- The Kenny Everett Television Show