The son of a bookmaker, Jimmy was born in Liverpool in 1940. At 18, he joined the touring rock ‘n’ roll show which set him firmly on the show business ladder of success, after which he became a Butlin’s holiday camp Redcoat. It was at this time, when he was 22, that he was spotted by the late Val Parnell and made his TV debut on Comedy Bandbox. He made several guest appearances on Sunday Night at the London Palladium with Val Parnell until he became its resident compere in September 1965.
He was soon headlining the top variety shows throughout the country as well as making his London cabaret debut at The Talk of the Town. Apart from appearing on Sunday Night at the London Palladium, his other hit series were The Jimmy Tarbuck Show for ATV, It’s Tarbuck for ATV, and Tarbuck’s Luck for the BBC.
The 80’s found Jimmy signing a five year contract with London Weekend Television to present Live From Her Majesty’s, followed by Live from the Piccadilly in 1986 and culminating with Live From the London Palladium in 1987/88. During this period he also had a television series called Tarby and Friends. This was a very successful talk show, which was aired by London Weekend Television in 1984/86, and Tarby After Ten followed this in 1988.
The 90’s found Jimmy appearing in summer seasons, pantomime and yearly concert tours. He is regarded as one of England’s leading after-dinner speakers and hosts many of the top award and business presentations shows as well as many TV guest appearances.
He has received the top Variety Club of Great Britain award as Show Business Personality of the Year and for his charity work he has been made an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
In 1994, Jimmy was honoured by being awarded the OBE for his services to show business and charity. His TV special from London Weekend Television, An Audience with Jimmy Tarbuck was aired in October 1994 and received top ratings and critical acclaim. Jimmy was honoured by the Guild of Professional Toastmasters with The Ivor Spencer Best After-Dinner Speaker Award for 1996 which was presented to him in March 1997. He has continued to be in high demand for television, theatre and corporate engagements and has recently completed a very successful UK tour of his one man show as well as taking part in Strictly Come Dancing and presenting For One Night Only. He continues to be recognised as one of Britain’s top cabaret artistes and after dinner speakers.
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