The daughter of Welsh comedians Gladys Morgan and Frank Laurie, singer and comedian Joan Laurie was just nine years old when she started appearing on stage in sketches with her parents as well as performing song-and-dance numbers.
Gladys had come to fame on the radio show Welsh Rarebit in 1950, her success there leading to countless appearances on radio and TV and in variety around the country, usually under the billing Gladys Morgan and Company – the company being Gladys’ husband Frank, daughter Joan and Joan’s husband Bert (whom she had met during the war while touring for the Entertainments National Service Association and later also managed the troupe).
They headlined the Revue Company at Butlins for three years, appeared on BBC TV’s The Good Old Days and Club Night and played a season at the London Palladium with their great friend, singer Frankie Vaughan in 1961.
In the 1950s Joan started appearing as a solo singer and comedian. She appeared with the Scottish comic Lex McLean, sang with the Joe Loss orchestra, appeared in cabaret and toured Australia to great acclaim in the late 1960s with the Black and White Minstrel Show as the star comedian.
The family toured South Africa for five consecutive years with an old time music hall production, their popularity earning them their own radio series, The Morgans, on Springbok Radio. Joan wrote the scripts for this series as well as taking part in the sketches and had a singing spot in each programme.
After a spell away from showbusiness to care for her ailing mother and husband, she returned to the spotlight in pantomimes in Blackpool and Stockport and starred with singer Clinton Ford in two very successful summer seasons in Eastbourne where The Stage reported: “This little lady is a knockout. She proves to be the complete performer.”
Joan Laurie was born on January 26, 1924 and died on August 16, aged 94.