The sad life of Benny Hill: The comedian was lonely, depressed, and was scared of spending money

Most people remember British funnyman Benny Hill for his slapstick, risqué humour.

But in real life, the multi-millionaire entertainer was riddled with insecurities about his self-worth and had a morbid fear of spending money.

In Hollywood journalist Craig Bennett’s new book, True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip, he recalls speaking at length about Hill with one of the comedian’s closest friends, the late Australian actress Sarah Kemp.

The sad, secret life of Benny Hill: The legendary British comedian was 'lonely, depressed and felt ugly' according to a new book which claims he was so frugal that he glued the soles of his tattered shoes back on'. Pictured on November 20, 1989 in New York City

The sad, secret life of Benny Hill: The legendary British comedian was 'lonely, depressed and felt ugly' according to a new book which claims he was so frugal that he glued the soles of his tattered shoes back on'. Pictured on November 20, 1989 in New York City

The sad, secret life of Benny Hill: The legendary British comedian was ‘lonely, depressed and felt ugly’ according to a new book which claims he was so frugal that he glued the soles of his tattered shoes back on’. Pictured on November 20, 1989 in New York City

According to Ms Kemp, Hill spent hours confiding in her about how he felt unloved and unattractive to women – despite his oversexed on-screen persona.

And although he was worth millions thanks to royalties from The Benny Hill Show, the late actor was extremely frugal and had a phobia of spending money.

He was so tight-fisted that he would wear the same clothes until they were threadbare and even glued the soles of his shoes back on when they became loose.

Sad truth: Most people remember British comedian Benny Hill for his slapstick, risqué humour - but the real-life character was sad, insecure and almost obsessively tight-fisted

Sad truth: Most people remember British comedian Benny Hill for his slapstick, risqué humour - but the real-life character was sad, insecure and almost obsessively tight-fisted

Sad truth: Most people remember British comedian Benny Hill for his slapstick, risqué humour – but the real-life character was sad, insecure and almost obsessively tight-fisted

The comic would only buy groceries when they were on sale, and would walk to the BBC headquarters rather than pay for a taxi.

Owning a car or his own home was also out of the question, according to Sarah, as such a large expenditure would have upset Hill.

Hill, who died in 1992 aged 68, is best remembered for fronting The Benny Hill Show, which was popular across the world.

Cheapskate: Although he was worth millions thanks to royalties from The Benny Hill Show, the late actor was extremely frugal and had a phobia of spending money

Cheapskate: Although he was worth millions thanks to royalties from The Benny Hill Show, the late actor was extremely frugal and had a phobia of spending money

Cheapskate: Although he was worth millions thanks to royalties from The Benny Hill Show, the late actor was extremely frugal and had a phobia of spending money

Confidante: In Hollywood journalist Craig Bennett's new book, True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip, he recalls speaking at length about Hill with one of the comedian's close friends, the late Australian actress Sarah Kemp (pictured)

Confidante: In Hollywood journalist Craig Bennett's new book, True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip, he recalls speaking at length about Hill with one of the comedian's close friends, the late Australian actress Sarah Kemp (pictured)

Confidante: In Hollywood journalist Craig Bennett’s new book, True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip, he recalls speaking at length about Hill with one of the comedian’s close friends, the late Australian actress Sarah Kemp (pictured) 

The program consisted of short, often risqué, comedy sketches and aired in more than 140 countries between 1955 and 1991.

Meanwhile, Sarah Kemp is remembered for playing Charlie Bartlett in the classic Australian soap opera, Sons and Daughters. She died of lung cancer in 2015 aged 77.

Craig Bennett’s book True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip is released on May 1 

Tell-all: Craig Bennett's book True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip is released on May 1

Tell-all: Craig Bennett's book True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip is released on May 1

Tell-all: Craig Bennett’s book True Confessions of a Shameless Gossip is released on May 1

The life and times of Benny Hill 

Benny Hill was born Alfred Hill on January 21, 1925 in Southampton, England and is remembered by family and schoolmates as a ‘class clown’.

He was apparently already earning money at the age of six by entertaining punters at the beach with popular songs.

As a teenager, he dropped out of school and worked as a milkman before seeking his fortune in London, where he found an entry-level job in the props department of a theatre company.

Hill made his theatrical debut after an actor showed up to work drunk and had to be replaced. The director was reportedly impressed by the young stagehand’s impressions backstage and decided to give him a chance.

He later served in the British Army during World War II. During this time, he entertained the troops in variety shows and adopted the professional name ‘Benny Hill’ in homage to comedian Jack Benny.

Life and times: Benny Hill was born Alfred Hill on January 21, 1925 in Southampton, England and is remembered by family and schoolmates as a 'class clown'. Pictured on  The Benny Hill Show in 1968 with Belgian actress Bettina Le Beau

Life and times: Benny Hill was born Alfred Hill on January 21, 1925 in Southampton, England and is remembered by family and schoolmates as a 'class clown'. Pictured on  The Benny Hill Show in 1968 with Belgian actress Bettina Le Beau

Life and times: Benny Hill was born Alfred Hill on January 21, 1925 in Southampton, England and is remembered by family and schoolmates as a ‘class clown’. Pictured on  The Benny Hill Show in 1968 with Belgian actress Bettina Le Beau

Following the war, he performed in London music halls and got his big break in television after MC’ing at a BBC entertainment show.

The Benny Hill Show (1955 – 1991) became a global success and eventually made him a star in America once it began airing there in the ’70s.

He was known for his raucous and racy sense of humour, involving scantily-clad young actresses, slapstick gags and cross-dressing.

However, his style of comedy eventually became unfashionable as tastes changed and The Benny Hill Show is remembered by some as vulgar and sexist.

Hill’s health declined in the late ’80s and he died in London on April 20 1992 aged 68, two months after suffering a mild heart attack. The cause of death was recorded as coronary thrombosis.

Laughter until the end: Hill's health declined in the late '80s and he died in London on April 20 1992 aged 68, two months after suffering a mild heart attack. The cause of death was recorded as coronary thrombosis. Pictured in hospital

Laughter until the end: Hill's health declined in the late '80s and he died in London on April 20 1992 aged 68, two months after suffering a mild heart attack. The cause of death was recorded as coronary thrombosis. Pictured in hospital

Laughter until the end: Hill’s health declined in the late ’80s and he died in London on April 20 1992 aged 68, two months after suffering a mild heart attack. The cause of death was recorded as coronary thrombosis. Pictured in hospital

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