Biography of a Great Smoker Eric Morecambe
Arguably Britain’s most beloved comic, Eric Morecambe combined nonchalant charm with effortless good humour and his name has featured heavily on compiled lists of Perfect Dinner Party Guests for decades.
Eric Morecambe was known for his comedy stylings as much as he was known for his trademark thick glasses and smoking pipe.
His love for pipe tobacco was began upon advice from his doctor. A frequent smoker of cigarettes, Morecambe’s doctor encouraged him to switch to smoking a pipe as it would be more beneficial to his heart and he took to this advice like a duck to water.
The pipe became a mainstay of both his personal and professional lives. Many sketches in which he performed with Ernie Wise were graced by the presence of his pipe being smoked in a carefree fashion.
The pipe became an important part of many of Morecambe and Wise’s comedy routines. The famous sketches in which the two male comedians shared a bed were given a masculine and platonic feel by the presence of Eric’s pipe. Without the pipe much of the 1970s audience may have questioned why two heterosexual comedians were sharing a bed.
Smoking pipes became such an integral part of Morecambe’s personality and character that they are now considered one of the quintessential qualities. His home in Harpenden has become a shrine to him since his death. All of his suits remain in his wardrobe and his beloved pipes are still stored in a pipe box.
Comedienne Miranda Hart recently visited his home and commented about how his love of pipe tobacco had an effect upon all of those around him.Â She also revealed that the smell of tobacco hit you as if Eric could still be in the room.
The simple act of smoking the pipe became a part of his comedic character. Often Morecambe would be inclined to act the fool and smoke his pipe upside down. This simple visual gag combined two of his great loves making people laugh and his pipes.
These two great loves stuck with him until the end of his life. He enjoyed smoking pipes until his last day and he died immediately after performing a sixth encore at a comedy show organised by one of his many dear friends.
Dying at the age of 58 Britain lost one of its most beloved individuals criminally early but his legacy and profile will live on as long as laughter does.