Biography

 

Russ Abbot (born Russell Allan Roberts on 18th September 1947 at 322 Hoole Lane Chester) was the fifth of six sons (Neil, Stewart, Don, Derek and John) born to Donald (Don) Roberts, who was English, and Elizabeth (Betty) Laing, who was Scottish. They met when his salesman father played cornet in a bluecoat band for a party at the Duke of Westminster's’ estate in Chester, where his mother was a ladies maid for the Dukes household.

Russ past his eleven plus at Hoole & Newton Jnr School and moved on to Chester City Grammar School.
As a young drummer Russ joined Adam and the Apples, The Buccaneers, Johnny Gibson and the D Notes, and then The Black Abbots. Russ worked part time backstage at the Royalty Theatre Chester and in 1965 the ‘Abbots’ took residency there, where under the wing of Denis Critchley, he learnt the craft of comedy.

It was backstage at a Black Abbots gig that Russ met and trapped the finger of his future wife Patricia (Trish) Simpson and on January 28th 1966 they married. Russ and Trish then went on to have four children: Erika, Richard, Gary and Christopher. They also have four grandchildren: Laine, Charlotte, Lily May and Jaxon.

In 1969 The Black Abbots joined forces with manager Mike Hughes and won TV’s Opportunity Knocks. Then over the next decade became one of Britain’s top acts, whilst touring and releasing records.

Russ occasionally appeared without The Black Abbots in such TV programs as Who Do You Do,  What's On Next & The Comedians as Russ Roberts. But it was in 1980 when Russ went solo that his carrier really took off. Russ joined the gang of The Freddie Starr Variety Madhouse but Freddie only stuck around for the one series so the show was reborn and renamed Russ Abbot’s Madhouse. It was here where his zany and sometimes manic characters were paraded to become part of Saturday nights viewing. In 1986 Russ took his characters and style over to the BBC where The Russ Abbot Show stayed until 1991.

Throughout the 80’s Russ the all round entertainer attracted millions of TV viewers, won countless awards, released many hit records and sold out tours, summer seasons and Pantomimes.

In 1993 Russ appeared in his first straight acting roll starring along side Michael Williams in the bittersweet comedy drama September Song. Since then Russ has moved towards more demanding acting parts in drama and comedy including Shakespeare. Theatre work has taken preference to TV, mainly in the form of musicals however Russ still appears in many TV rolls and Russ did resurrect his Madhouse persona for five series of The Russ Abbot Show for BBC Radio 2 in the late 90’s.