Guest Actor Biography
Page 81 of 127


Ray Martine

Taxi Driver, The Girl from Auntie

by Pete Stampede

Cockney comedian Ray Martine (born 6 October 1928), who likely achieved his apogee as Steed's non-speaking taxi driver, died on 19 June 2002. Something of a Jewish-flavoured incarnation of Frankie Howerd, his stand-up material was pretty ropey to say the least, but I'm really quite shocked and sad he's gone, as he was a mainstay on Jokers Wild, a show I have a terrible soft spot for. All the gags on that show were supposedly spontaneous (the format was nicked from a US series, Can You Top This?), but clearly rehearsed—you could tell in Martine's case, as his camp snappings at the audience and other panellists, including John Cleese on more than a few occasions, were more amusing than the tortuously delivered ("no, shush, hold on a minute") old chestnuts he came out with. The Avengers appearance, his only acting role as such, probably came about due to his popularity at the time as host of Stars and Garters, a variety series supposedly beamed live from a pub. Oh well, as Jokers Wild's host, the indefatigable Barry Cryer, would say, it's Ray Martine's turn and the subject on the card is "Condolences."

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