Gregg, Hubert (Robert Harry) 1914-2004
GREGG, Hubert (Robert Harry) 1914-2004
See index for CA sketch: Born July 19, 1914, in London, England; died March 29, 2004, in Eastbourne, East Sussex, England. Composer, actor, director, broadcaster, and author. In addition to being well known as the host of the British BroadcastingCorporation (BBC) music request program Hubert Gregg Says Thanks for the Memory for over three decades, Gregg was the author of popular World War II-era songs, a director of plays, an actor, and an author of novels, plays, and nonfiction. After attending St. Dunstan's College on a scholarship, he attended the Webber-Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art from 1933 to 1936 because his parents could not afford to send him to university. Gregg, however, proved to be an acting talent, and during the 1930s performed with the Birmingham Repertory Company in various play productions. When World War II ensued, he joined the Lincolnshire Regiment but instead of fighting was tapped as a broadcaster, speaking in German for propaganda programs against the Nazis. While in the army, Gregg also wrote the popular songs "I'm Going to Get Lit Up (When the Lights Go Up Again in London)" (1940) and "Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner" (1944), which helped British morale and became tunes that are still remembered today. After the war, Gregg returned to stage work, directing versions of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap and The Hollow, as well as acting in productions of Caesar and Cleopatra and The Cocktail Party. In 1952, he wrote the song "Elizabeth" in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, but his main interest turned from song writing to writing musicals, as well as to broadcasting work for the BBC. He was a costar in the BBC-TV series From Me to You in 1956, and during the late 1960s was a presenter on BBC-Radio's A Square Deal. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Gregg was host of such series as Hubert Gregg at the London Theatre, I Call It Genius, and I Call It Style, but his most successful program was Hubert Gregg Says Thanks for the Memory, which debuted in 1972 and featured popular songs from the first half of the twentieth century. In addition to all these activities, Gregg had acting roles in films such as Doctor at Sea (1955), Simon and Laura (1955), and the 1973 Disney animated feature, Robin Hood. Furthermore, he was the author of numerous plays such as Cheque Mate (1957) and Who's Been Sleeping…? (1965), the novels April Gentlemen (1951) and A Day's Loving (1974), and the nonfiction books Agatha Christie and All That Mousetrap (1980) and Thanks for the Memory: A Personal Spotlight on Special People in Entertainment (1983). For his many contributions to the arts, Gregg was named a Member of the British Empire in 2002.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Gammond, Peter, The Oxford Companion to Popular Music, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1991.
Independent (London, England), March 31, 2004, p. 35.
Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2004, p. B11.
Times (London, England), March 31, 2004.
Washington Post, April 3, 2004, p. B6.