Will Hay
Will Hay

Celebrity Profile

Name: Will Hay
Occupation: Actor
Gender: Male
Height: 177 cm (5' 10'')
Birth Day: December 6, 1888
Age: 134
Country: England
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius

Social Accounts

Height: 177 cm (5' 10'')
Weight: in kg - N/A
Eye Color: N/A
Hair Color: N/A
Blood Type N/A
Tattoo(s) N/A

Will Hay

Will Hay was born on December 6, 1888 in England (134 years old). Will Hay is an Actor, zodiac sign: Sagittarius. Find out Will Haynet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


He also studied astronomy and in 1932, became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

He started out training to be an engineer, but quit at age 21 to begin acting.

Biography Timeline


In 1907 Hay married Gladys Perkins (1889–1982), whom he had known since he was 15, but they legally separated on 18 November 1935. However, they never divorced and Gladys cited the reason for this was that she was a Roman Catholic. They had two daughters and a son: Gladys Elspeth Hay (1909–1979), William Edward Hay (1913–1995) and Joan A. Hay (1917–1975). Following his separation from Gladys in 1935, he was in a long-term relationship with Randi Kopstadt, a native of Norway.


Hay decided to become an actor when he was 21 after watching W. C. Fields perform a juggling act in Manchester. In the early years of the twentieth century Hay experienced some moderate success as a stand-up comedian and an after dinner speaker. Hay's first professional job came when he was offered a contract to perform at a theatre in Belper. In 1914 Hay began working with the impresario Fred Karno who had previously helped Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin achieve success. He worked with Karno for four years. He first performed his schoolmaster character in 1910 which he based upon a colleague of his sister, who was a teaching mistress. The characterisation was initially performed in drag as a schoolmistress, but he transferred the character to a headmaster.


In June 1932 he joined the British Astronomical Association, in November of the same year he became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is noted for having discovered a Great White Spot on the planet Saturn in 1933.


Hay kept his career in astronomy separate from his comedy career and published Through My Telescope under the name of W.T. Hay, using the same title when giving lectures on astronomy. Hay was an advocate for education on astronomy and considered those who had an interest in astronomy "the only men who see life in its true proportion". In a 1933 interview with the Daily Mail he stated "If we were all astronomers, there'd be no more war." He was a friend of William Herbert Steavenson, who would go on to become the President of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1957.


From 1934 to 1943, he was a prolific film star in Britain and was ranked the third highest grossing star at the British Box Office in 1938, behind George Formby and Gracie Fields. He is widely regarded as one of the most prolific and influential British comedians of all-time.

Hay had become interested in film making while touring in the United States in the 1920s, although, at the time he doubted he had a future in this field. Having returned to Britain, Hay started work at Elstree Studios in 1934 where he made three films, Those Were the Days, Radio Parade of 1935 and Dandy Dick.


Hay's work at Gainsborough was his most successful, and source of his reputation as a great comic actor. During this period he became one of the most prolific film stars in Britain. On three occasions, British film exhibitors voted him among the top ten box office stars in an annual poll run by the Motion Picture Herald. He was ranked 8th in 1936, 4th in 1937 and 3rd in 1938.


Hay's 1937 film alongside Moffatt and Marriott, Oh, Mr. Porter! is often considered to be one of the greatest British comedy films of all-time. The British Film Institute included the film in its 360 Classic Feature Films list; Variety magazine described the movie as "amusing, if over-long", noting that there was " no love interest to mar the comedy"; and the cult website TV Cream listed it at number 41 in its list of cinema's Top 100 Films. The director Marcel Varnel considered the film as among his best work, and it was described in 2006, by The Times in its obituary for writer Val Guest, as "a comic masterpiece of the British cinema". Jimmy Perry, in his autobiography, wrote that the triumvirate of Captain Mainwaring, Corporal Jones and Private Pike in Dad's Army was inspired by watching Oh, Mr Porter.


Hay left Gainsborough and began working with Ealing Studios in 1940, in an attempt to break up his partnership with Moffatt and Marriott. Claude Hulbert and Charles Hawtrey were Hay's sidekicks in his first film for Ealing, The Ghost of St Michael's (1941). Both would return to act with Hay in subsequent films - Hawtrey in The Goose Steps Out (1942) and Hulbert in Hay's final film, My Learned Friend (1943). John Mills, who had appeared in Hay's first film, Those Were the Days returned to act as his sidekick in The Black Sheep of Whitehall. The Goose Steps Out (1942) for Ealing was an effective piece of anti-Nazi slapstick. In the film, Hay acts as a British spy posing as a Nazi agent and teaches Nazi students about British customs. When lecturing them on this topic, he tells the students that the V sign (often used in Britain as an insult) is a mark of respect, and instructs the class to make a synchronised V sign to a portrait of Adolf Hitler. This scene is often considered one of the most iconic from a British comedy film.


During Hay's tenure with Ealing he was credited as a director in three of his films, The Black Sheep of Whitehall, The Goose Steps Out and My Learned Friend. In all three, he co-directed with Basil Dearden. In 1942, he starred in a short information film, Go to Blazes alongside Thora Hird and Muriel George. The film was set during the Blitz and his role was a dim-witted father who tried unsuccessfully to defuse a bomb which had landed near his house, the bomb is only defused through the help of his daughter, portrayed by Hird. Also in 1942, he made an appearance in the propaganda film, The Big Blockade among other prolific actors of the time, including Leslie Banks, John Mills and Michael Redgrave.


His final film, My Learned Friend in 1943 has been described as a masterpiece of black comedy and has been cited as paving the way for the future Ealing comedy films Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) and The Ladykillers (1955). Due to ailing health, My Learned Friend was Hay's final film.

Hay was scheduled to star in another film for Ealing in 1943, Bob's Your Uncle, but his diagnosis of cancer prevented him from proceeding.


The half-hour weekly Will Hay Programme began in August 1944, and was broadcast live from the BBC Paris Theatre in Lower Regent Street. With him in his schoolmaster role, were his pupils, Charles Hawtrey playing the cheeky Smart, John Clark as the class swot D'arcy Minor, and Billy Nicholls playing the dumb Beckett. The series lasted for four months and was cancelled, it is said, due to Hay's dispute with the BBC over the quality of the scripts. Just before Christmas, the show went live at the Victoria Palace for six weeks. The sketch was performed one more time at a gathering of variety entertainers at midnight on 4 May 1945 (4 days before VE Day) before the Royal Family and many military notables. This was at a private function at the Life Guards barracks in Windsor. It was not publicised in the newspapers due to security concerns. Hay's character during his radio series was called Dr. Muffin, a name chosen so that the students could mock him with the name "Old Crumpet".


In 1946 while on holiday, Hay suffered a stroke which left the right side of his body crippled and also affected his speech. He was told by his doctors that he would in all likelihood only make a partial recovery. Following his stroke, he spent time in South Africa on the advice of his doctors, because of the climate. His health had improved slightly by the following year, when he had plans to become a film producer but, in 1947, his friend Marcel Varnel, who had directed many of Hay's films, died in a car accident, and Hay postponed his plans.


He made his last public appearance on Good Friday (15 April) 1949. Hay died at the age of 60 on 18 April 1949 at his flat in Chelsea, London, three days later following a further stroke. His body was buried in Streatham Park Cemetery in London. Those who were present at Hay's final appearance described him as showing no sign of illness, and said he had discussed his plans for the future.


The acts in which Hay performed the schoolmaster sketch became known as "The Fourth Form at St. Michael's". Hay toured with the act and appeared in the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa. His wife, Gladys, often played a schoolboy or the character Harbottle in his sketches. The Harbottle character was one of the most popular in Hay's act, a dim-witted, nearly deaf old man who is still in school because he's so backward. The character later featured in Hay's films portrayed by Moore Marriott. In a 1976 interview, Val Guest who served as a screenwriter for many of Hay's films, recalled transposing Harbottle from school into other everyday situations. He famously performed the schoolmaster routine at the 1925 Royal Command Performance before King George V and Queen Mary. This was widely regarded as one of his most famous performances.

Comedians who have cited Hay as an influence include Ken Dodd, Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper, Harry Worth, Harry Enfield, Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Ronnie Barker also cited Hay as an influence, and in 1976 hosted a documentary on BBC Radio that discussed Hay's life and career.


Off-screen, Hay was described as being something of an eccentric, and a very serious and private man, and some thought he may have had a dark side due to his demeanour. Peter Ustinov, who made his film debut in The Goose Steps Out as a straight man to Hay, said in a 1990 interview when asked about working with him "Well, Will Hay wasn't very funny but I found that very few comics are"; he also said "And Will Hay was always wrapped in a blanket at certain hours and had his tea, and we all stopped talking while he was having his tea, and then we went on shooting. I don't remember him saying anything memorable, nothing I could remember at all. He was very funny when you saw him on the screen, but in life all those people are very, very strange."


'The Will Hay Appreciation Society' was founded in 2009 by British artist Tom Marshall and aims to preserve Hay's legacy and bring his work to a new generation of fans. As of June 2019, the organisation has over 4,200 members. The Will Hay Appreciation Society unveiled a memorial bench to Will Hay, Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt in October 2018, in Cliddesden, Hampshire, the filming location for 'Buggleskelly' in Oh, Mr. Porter!. The bench was unveiled by Pete Waterman.

In 2009 a posthumous biography of Hay by Graham Rinaldi was published with a foreword by Ken Dodd. Hay never published an autobiography during his lifetime; however, when ill in the 1940s, he had begun writing one, entitled I Enjoyed Every Minute. Excerpts from this unpublished autobiography were included in the 2009 book.

Family Life

Will was married to Gladys Perkins from 1907 to 1935 and they had three children together.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Will Hay is 134 years, 3 months and 26 days old. Will Hay will celebrate 135th birthday on a Wednesday 6th of December 2023. Below we countdown to Will Hay upcoming birthday.


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