Monkhouse was married twice, to Elizabeth Thompson on November 5, 1949 (divorced in 1972), and then to Jacqueline Harding on October 4, 1973. He had three children from his first marriage, but only his daughter Abigail survived him. His son Gary Alan, who had cerebral palsy, died in Braintree, Essex, in 1992, aged 40; this led to Monkhouse being an avid campaigner for the disabled. His other son Simon, from whom he had been estranged for almost a decade, died of a heroin overdose in a Bangkok hotel in 2001.
In July 1995, Monkhouse appealed for the return of a ring binder that constituted one of his ‘joke books’, offering a £10,000 reward. The book, which contained notes on sketches and one-liners, for which Monkhouse was most famous, was returned after 18 months.
Monkhouse was appointed an OBE in 1993. He succumbed to prostate cancer on 29 December 2003.
 Posthumous advertisement
On 12 June 2007, Monkhouse appeared posthumously on a British TV advertisement promoting awareness of prostate cancer for Male Cancer Awareness Week. Using a combination of stock footage, a body double, CGI, and Simon Cartwright‘s “serious” impersonation of his voice (i.e. accurate, not caricatured), Monkhouse was seen in a graveyard next to his own gravestone (though in reality he was cremated) talking about the disease seriously, interspersed with humorous asides to another camera (“What killed me kills one man per hour in Britain. That’s even more than my wife’s cooking.”). He ended by saying, “As a comedian, I’ve died many deaths. Prostate cancer, I don’t recommend. I’d have paid good money to stay out of here. What’s it worth to you?” before walking away from his grave and disappearing. The advertisement was made with the support of Monkhouse’s family and supported by poster campaigns. Money raised went to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation.
Famous Bob Monkhouse one-liners
- “Dulwich College takes me back after seventy years: My Mum must have written one hell of a sick note!”
- “They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They’re not laughing now.”
- “Personally, I don’t think there’s intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?”
- “Silence is not only golden, it is seldom misquoted.”
- “Marriage is an investment which pays dividends if you pay interest.”
- “I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my father. Not screaming and terrified like his passengers.”
- “Growing old is compulsory – growing up is optional.”
- “As a comic, you need every wrinkle. Having a facelift would be like asking a tap dancer to have his feet lopped off.”
- “I came home and found that my son was taking drugs – my very best ones too!” (on Have I Got News For You)
- “I’m rather relaxed about death. From quite an early age I’ve regarded it as part of the deal, the unwritten guarantee that comes with your birth certificate.”
- “So you are half Welsh and half Hungarian, that means you are well-hung!” (on V Graham Norton)
- (on stage as a veteran comic)”You’ll be glad to hear, I can still enjoy sex at 74 which is great because I live at 75.”
- “I can remember when safe sex meant a padded headboard.”
- “It got up to 94 degrees today – that’s pretty good at my age.”
- “People often think I’m from Kent. I hear them whisper it as I walk past.”
- On his visits to Princess Grace Hospital for treatment after being diagnosed with prostate cancer–“I’ve been in and out of Princess Grace more often than Prince Rainier.”
- “With my wife it was sex, sex, sex…Yes, three times in 35 years.”
- “Should you wish to piss….” (an infamous blooper when presenting The $64,000 Question in which he mispronounced the word “pass”)
3 Replies to “Who was Bob Monkhouse? Hint- Zappa, Bixby, Fogleberg and Albin’s father. The prostate cancer that kills in three years- the one i worry about”
Reblogged this on Prostate diaries and commented:
Cancer does not discriminate .