Norman Widom's Last Show The People Newspaper- Exclusive Celebrity Story- ***October 2010***

Terry Wort contacted to tell the extraordinary story of how he and his family were given a private show by the showbusiness legend.

Norman Wisdom had invited the Wort family into his home and told them his life story and peformed on the piano.

Mr Wort had kept quiet about the show until after Norman Wisdom's death but wanted to pay tribute to his kindness.

We sold the story for Mr Wort to The People newspaper and he was paid an excellent fee.

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Norman Wisdom's last performance at home

Norman Wisdom

These touching pictures capture the magical moments when Sir Norman Wisdom put on a show for a family who simply turned up at his house.

Fan Terry Wort, 39, was on holiday with his wife and two daughters when they decided to seek out their comedy hero, who died last week aged 95, to give him their best wishes.

To their astonishment, when they gently knocked on his door on the Isle of Man six years ago in 2004, Norman cheerily waved them all inside for an impromptu showbiz performance.

Norman, then 89, ushered them into his wooden-beamed sitting room, complete with chandelier, antique rugs, open stone fireplace and easy chairs.

Terry, his wife Linda, 39, daughter Marissa and six-month-old baby Loretta, were made to feel as comfortable as possible.

The veteran clown, whose career spanned the music hall, TV and films, then showed off his hilarious shadow-boxing skills to the amazed family.

He then sat down at his piano and sang Don't Laugh At Me (Cause I'm A Fool), which he co-wrote for his 1953 debut film Trouble In Store, and which became his signature tune for the next half-century. Terry, still thrilled by the {memory, said: We couldnt believe what we were hearing and seeing.

Norman went on to show the family around his house, pointing out photos of fellow showbiz legends such as Stan Laurel, and revealing how it was Vera Lynn who gave him his big break in show business.

Terry, a kitchen salesman from Birmingham, said: He was just a lovely, lovely man, and I will never forget him.

Norman Wisdom

Remembering the magical time, Terry recalled how, when the family first went to Norman's house in the Lhen, he wasn't in. However, as they drove away they spotted him in the next village, sitting in an S-type Jaguar.

Terry said: I shouted Norman and he looked round.

I told him we had just been up to his house. He said if we would like to go back the next day he would have a chat with us.

I thought he was trying to get rid of us and nothing would come of it.

But such was their devotion to Norman the family did return the next day and saw the star sitting next to the window in his armchair.

They knocked softly on the door and true to his word the kind-hearted entertainer let them in.

Terry recalled: I told him my daughter Marissa had seen all his films and I asked him how it is possible to start off and get noticed in the world.

He told me it was all due to Vera Lynn. He said he had always wanted to go on stage as a young chap and he pestered an entertainments manager to give him a spot on stage in London somewhere.

He kept getting knock-backs but the manager eventually said he could come to the theatre but could only go on stage if any of the other acts were unable to do so for some reason.

On the third night he said Vera Lynn came up to him and said she had to leave the theatre due to an emergency and Norman would have to take her place.

Norman went onstage and did his variety show and the crowd loved him. Word got around and of course everyone wanted him to appear on stage.

But Norman said that when he came off stage Vera Lynn was in the wings and told him she didn't really have an emergency, she just wanted to give him a chance on stage.

Norman said he would never forget Vera's kindness to him which gave him his big chance.

Terry stayed with the comic for around an hour at his home. Like millions of  fans around the world, he was saddened by the stars death, but will cherish the very personal memories he has of him.

Norman made his name in musical theatre in the late 1940s, before his film career took a decade later.

He later moved into TV and also won serious acting roles well into oldage. And even in what passed for retirement he continued to entertain.

His last professional engagement was at the Theatre Royal in Norwich in2004, when he was 89, though as Terry can testify he was a showman at home too.


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