Dave King (23 June 1929 – 15 April 2002) had one of the most remarkable careers in show business. Quite apart from his brief, but enviable, chart career with pop records, he was a successful comedian in both the UK and the USA, and subsequently a brilliant and much sought after serious actor.
Born David Kingshott in Twickenham, Middlesex, England, King left school at 12 and joined the Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang at 15. He did his National Service in the RAF and was in the unit's repertory company, returning to variety on demob and later becoming a solo act. An appearance on Television Music Hall led to compeering Show Case and being given a monthly series on the BBC in 1955.
The next year he turned to singing while continuing to perform on television. During the seaside summer season of 1956 he performed at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. He starred in "The Dave King Show". During the 1950s he also starred in the same show alongside Shani Wallis. In 1958 King moved to ITV with The Dave King Show which was song, dance and comedy with famous guests of the day.
As King was fond of impersonating Bing Crosby, it made sense that he should follow this route by making records. His first record, "Sweet Kentucky Rose", for Parlophone, in 1955 did not sell but a move to Decca resulted in his achieving several chart entries. King scored four hits on the UK Singles Chart in the middle of the 1950s. His biggest hits were "Memories Are Made of This" (No. 5, 1956) and "You Can't Be True to Two" (No. 11, 1956), both of which featured a backing group called the Keynotes. He also charted with "Christmas and You" (No. 23, 1956) and "The Story of My Life" (No. 20, 1958). He appeared on Decca Records' All Star Hit Parade charity record in 1956 along with other major Decca artists Dickie Valentine, Joan Regan, Winifred Atwell, Lita Roza and David Whitfield.
In 1959, he went to the United States and hosted the country's high-profile Kraft Music Hall on 19 occasions, but otherwise had limited success despite Mel Brooks joining his regular writers Sid Green and Dick Hills. He appeared on television with Bing Crosby in 1961 and then had a small role in his film The Road to Hong Kong. On returning to the United Kingdom, he found that the public's taste in comedy had changed. Dave's Kingdom ran on ITV in 1964, again made by ATV, but was less successful than King's earlier TV work.
King became a straight actor with some success, starring in the films Pirates of Tortuga (1961), Go to Blazes (1962), Strange Bedfellows (1965), Up the Chastity Belt (1971), The Ritz (1976), The Golden Lady (1979), Cuba (1979), The Long Good Friday (1980), Warren Beatty's Reds (1981) and Revolution (1985). He also appeared in a number of TV series including The Sweeney (episode: "Pay Off", 1976), Hazell (1978), Pennies From Heaven (1978), The Professionals (episode: "Hijack", 1980), Rumpole of the Bailey (episode "Rumpole and the Blind Tasting" 1987) and Coronation Street (1994–95). He also appeared in a stage version of Arsenic and Old Lace, playing Mortimer Brewster.
He married a dancer, Jean Hart, and they had two daughters, Cheyenne and Kiowa. They lived in South Cerney in Gloucestershire. His hobbies included model railways and American folklore.
(Info various mainly Wikipedia)
King died after a short illness in London on 15 April 2002, aged 72.