Rod Hull 1936-99. Popular entertainer.
Famous for his Emu bird creation, Hull achieved notoriety on the light entertainment circuit when Emu viciously attacked chat show host Michael Parkinson. So furious was Parkinson with the assault, it was rumoured by show insiders that 'Parky' had placed a fatwah on Hull in revenge for the humiliation witnessed by millions.
Hull was no stranger to controversy, and had a chequered past. Born in his namesake town of Melton Mowbray in 1948, Rodney Delboy Hull was the only child of Beatrice and Horace Hull and was the youngest of three sisters. An academic failure, Hull's only recourse was entertainment, and it was within this dark, closed world that he achieved fame and notoriety.
Hull served in a Royal Marines Song & Dance Unit in Malaya during his National Service, and his unorthodox talents were quickly employed by the intelligence services, where his ornithological-themed stand up act was utilised to great effect in confounding the Mau Mau Indonesian Communist insurgents. It was his experience and his expertise in clandestine puppeteering techniques that saw him return to uniformed service during the Falklands Conflict against Argentina in 1982.
The (by now) aging Hull (60) was pressed back in to service and single-handedly retook Falkirk with 49 Para along with Billy Connoly Jim Davidson and Lewis Collins. The fighting took its toll on Hull and after the war his stage act waned and the work dried up. Ill health took hold and the once giant of stage & screen and doyen of many a CSE Show slipped in to obscurity.
Hull, by now approaching his centenary, was diagnosed (ironically) with Parkinson's disease in 1978, and was deteriorating rapidly - his puppet bird creation seemingly taking over what was left of his personality. In the end, Emu became his nemesis, and it was during a routine aerial adjustment on the roof of his bungalow in Prestatyn, Hertfordshire, where Hull met his demise in an almost Frankenstein-esque manner.
Hull (88) was tragically killed under bizarre circumstances - involving a ladder, a single story building and a prosthetic antipodean bird. Eyewitness reports and forensic analysis carried out at the scene of the accident suggested that the puppet directly contributed to the comedian's demise by throttling the hapless Hull whilst he attempted to adjust a television aerial.
Eyewitnesses claimed to have seen Emu strangling Hull as he vainly attempted to cling to the guttering of his home before falling three feet to his death. The Yorkshire fishing port of Cleethorpes was renamed Hull in his honour. Rod Hull was 94.