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Larry Grayson Collection

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379
Dates of Creation 1923 - 1995
Name of Creator Larry Grayson
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 box and 1 volume

Scope and Content

This collection contains material relating to Larry Grayson and his other stage names, Billie Breen and Kathryn Grayson. Materials include scrapbooks, a photograph album, a notebook and order of services relating to his death. The material dates between 1923 and 1995.

Administrative / Biographical History

Larry Grayson was born William White in Banbury on 21 August 1923. He grew up with adoptive parents in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. By the age of 14, he had started his career and joined the comedy club and variety shows circuit, using the stage name of Billy Breen. He often appeared in drag shows, changing his stage name in the Fifties to Kathryn Grayson.

His big break in television came in January 1971 when, as Larry Grayson, he appeared on ATV's Saturday Variety. In 1972, he had his own television show 'Shut that Door' (1972). In 1978, he took over presenting 'The Generation Game' from Bruce Forsyth. He retired from television in 1981, but continued to perform in the theatre, particularly in pantomime.

On New Year's Eve 1994, Larry Grayson was rushed into hospital suffering from a perforated appendix. After being released home, Grayson died on 7 January 1995 in Nuneaton, at the age of 71. Grayson's final public appearance was at the 1994 Royal Variety Performance. During this performance he referred to his absence from television, by commenting to the audience, "Yes, I am still alive!". His last words on stage were his catchphrase "Shut that door!" He is buried alongside other members of his family in his home town of Nuneaton.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance's Reading Room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Friday between 10.15 am and 4.30 pm. Access to it is by appointment only. To request an appointment please email tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk or telephone 020 7942 2698.

Access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Archival material may not be photocopied. Arrangements can be made to photograph material in the reading room using non-flash photography.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.

The 1994 programme of 'Piaf, a musical play by Pam Gems', starring Elain Paige at the Piccadily Theatre in London was integrated into the core collections.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Larry Grayson in general may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.

Cataloguing Info

Title Larry Grayson Collection
Creation Created by intern using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2011-12-01
Revisions

Scrapbooks

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/1
Dates of Creation ca.1950 to 1976
Name of Creator Larry Grayson
Physical Description 2 items

Scope and Content

Three scrapbooks containing material relating primarily to Billy Breen (Larry Grayson's stage name) and Larry Grayson. Cuttings typically consist of act advertisements, news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles, interviews, from magazines as well as clippings from UK newspapers. The scrapbooks also contain programmes of performances and promotional material.


Billy Breen, Radio Tymes Scrapbook

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/1/1
Dates of Creation ca. 1950
Name of Creator Larry Grayson
Physical Description 1 volume

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labeled on front cover with pasted Billy Breen 'Radio Tymes' as the title. Materials consist of cuttings on 'Radio Tymes' and Billy Breen from various UK newspapers. Cuttings typically news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles, interviews, and act advertisements. Playbills and posters are also included.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

One scrapbook with damaged binding. Some cuttings are becoming unstuck.


Larry Grayson Scrapbook

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/1/2
Dates of Creation ca. 1973 - 1977
Name of Creator Larry Grayson
Physical Description 1 volume

Scope and Content

Blue scrapbook contains cuttings on Larry Grayson's television and theatre performances from the 1970s. Periodical cuttings consist typically of news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles, interviews, and act advertisements. Playbills, ticket subs, postcards and posters are also included.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

One scrapbook with damaged pages. Some cuttings are loose/unstuck.


Larry Grayson Scrapbook

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/1/3
Dates of Creation undated
Physical Description 1 volume

Scope and Content

Large scrapbook containing cuttings relating to Larry Grayson's career.


Photo Album

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/2
Dates of Creation ca. 1886-1921
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 volume

Scope and Content

This photograph album contains black and white photographs relating to Pantomine in the early 20th Century. The photograph contains thirty eight black and white photographs of well known pantomine actors from the late 19th and early 20th century. Some of the actors are in costume, and some are head shots. In addition, some of the photographs are signed by the actors. The photograph album also consists of photograph cuttings from books and periodicals. and included are brief annotations about these individuals. There are also two caricatures including one of Charles Morton and George Leybourne and one of Nornan Evans.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Bound photo album with 16 pages.


Notebook

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/3
Dates of Creation ca. 1942-1972
Name of Creator Larry Grayson
Physical Description 1 volume

Scope and Content

The notebook contains handwritten and typed quotations from famous authors, poems and newspapers cuttings from various periodicals.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to this item is at the discretion of the Archivist, for conservation reasons. Please contact tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk regarding access arrangements to view this item.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

One notebook with front cover is missing. Pages are missing and the binding is loose.


Order of Services relating to Larry Grayson's death

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/4
Dates of Creation 1995
Physical Description 3 items

Scope and Content

This series contains order of services for memorial services for Larry Grayson (1923-1995). One service was on 16 January 1995 at the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin in Nuneaton. The other service on the 7 July 1995 at St Paul's Church in London.

Arrangement

This series has been arranged chronologically.


Memorial Service in Celebration and Thanksgiving for the Life of Larry Grayson 1923-1995, Nuneaton

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/4/1
Dates of Creation 16 Jan 1995
Name of Creator Typeset and Printed by Worcester Printing Services Limited
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Order of service for memorial service of Larry Grayson (1923-1995). The service was on 16 the January 1995 at the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin in Nuneaton. The order of service contains the hymns.


Memorial Service in Celebration and Thanksgiving for the Life of Larry Grayson 1923-1995, London

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/379/4/2
Dates of Creation 07 Jul 1995
Name of Creator Typeset and Printed by Worcester Printing Services Limited
Physical Description 2 items

Scope and Content

Order of service for memorial service of Larry Grayson (1923-1995). The service was on 7 July 1995 at the St Paul's Church in London. The order of service contains the hymns. There is a duplicate.