Pantomime Dame Jack Tripp Passes Away at 83Date: 20 July 2005
One of Britain’s most famous panto dames, Jack Tripp (pictured) - who won the MBE for his services to pantomime - was remembered at a funeral service in Brighton on Monday (18 July 2005), after he was taken ill at his home in Hove and died on 10 July 2005. He was 83.
Born in Plymouth on 4 February 1922, Tripp was a gifted tap dancer and often appeared in talent competitions from a young age in his home town. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and also joined the Central Pool of Artists, a unit for entertaining the troops with light-hearted shows and revues, with whom he travelled to Cairo and Khartoum.
After the war, Tripp took up acting professionally and appeared in variety, revue and seaside entertainments, including his own show Take a Tripp, which he performed with his partner, the singer and dancer Allen Christie. He made his West End debut in 1946 understudying Sid Field in Piccadilly Hayride at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Later, he starred alongside Shirley Bassey and Al Read in the 1955 revue show, Such Is Life.
Tripp’s comic abilities led him into pantomime. By the 1960s, he was a well-established and respected dame, appearing - in the most elaborate drag costumes – in more than 50 pantos, including major productions of Aladdin, Mother Goose and Babes in the Wood, over a long career. He took his role in traditional Christmas shows extremely seriously, and was famously quoted as saying “Mother Goose is the Hamlet of pantomimes”.
- by Caroline Ansdell