Remembering variety club legend Jerry Brooke

Jerry Brooke.
Jerry Brooke.

A shining light of the variety club scene who rubbed shoulders with the stars has died at the age of 81.

Jerry Brooke worked as a variety club compere at Wakefield’s Ace and Kon Tiki clubs where he would tie together performances of the world’s biggest and brightest entertainers.

Mr Brooke’s wife Valerie said: “You can’t be sad when you think of him because he was always so full of life.”

She said the number of messages and tributes she had received had been “unbelievable”.

Among Mr Brooke’s favourites of the famous faces he encountered were Tommy Cooper, Frankie Vaughan and the Bachelors.

Memorable occurences throughout his career included taking Louis Armstrong to a factory and telling him that was the venue he had to play, as well as nearly strangling Shirley Bassey when a microphone cord became tangled around her neck during a big entrance.

Mr Brooke spent several years as the compere at Batley Variety Club, as well as 13 years at Cesar’s in Luton.

But after the scene began to decline and fall out of popularity, Mrs Brooke said he took on a job as a maintenance fitter.

She said: “That was how he was as a man, he said, ‘I need to support my family, I’ve done my bit in show business’. He wouldn’t ask anyone for anything – he was a proper Yorkshireman.

“I think the best time to leave is when you are at the top. Some people never know when to quit, and he got to work with every big American artist of the time.”

Jerry Brooke died on November 20. His funeral was held on November 28.