Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Nuala McKeever: Norman Wisdom kept his life private, unlike Wayne Rooney

Sir Norman Wisdom's career in comedy spanned eight decades
Sir Norman Wisdom's career in comedy spanned eight decades

Can’t help comparing two men in the news last week — Wayne Rooney and the late Norman Wisdom.

Very different characters, obviously — one famous for falling over and making us laugh at him and the other a great comedy film actor.

Anyone over 40 probably grew up with Norman Wisdom’s brilliant character in all those black and white films where he was the underdog who made it in the end.

His face was so suited to playing the sad clown — he tugged your heartstrings even as you were laughing at his antics. You wanted him to get the girl/win the race/keep the job/beat the boss.

We didn’t know about his life outside his films. At least, we didn’t have it thrust at us in the Press. Which is why he’ll be remembered for what he did best.

With Rooney, in contrast, short of knowing what colour of underpants he wears on a Tuesday, there’s hardly a detail of his short, uninteresting life that hasn’t been examined. He’s so transparent, he can’t even change his mind in private.

I feel like doing a Norman Wisdom and running away shouting, “Mr Grimsdale!!!!”

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