The black and white portrait painted by Dave Miles, who has also written a book about Tony Hancock which was released on the same day, was unveiled exactly 50 years to the day that Tony Hancock died on June 25, 1968.
Dave Miles, founder of the Eric Morecambe Appreciation Society, said: “I’ve been a huge fan of Tony Hancock’s for about 35 years and I’ve been putting it on and off for the last two years.
“I decided to do it at the same time as getting the book out. I love the Winter Gardens theatre so much and Tony appeared there in 1947. My way of doing artwork is I get in the shoes of the subject and I know the subject through the paintbrush.
“The painting was from a still picture of Tony. It’s good to remember Tony 50 years later.
“I’m hoping to do some more canvasses for the Winter Gardens in the future.
“I love the theatre so much. I came to Morecambe for a day in 1998 and I fell in love with the place.
“Morecambe still has its character, it’s not commercialised. I hope she keeps improving.
“I’m very happy to have done this to remember Tony.”
Comedian and TV Catchphrase presenter for many years Roy Walker, who took time out of his busy schedule to unveil the portrait, said: “As comedians we stand on the shoulders of comedians like Tony Hancock.
“The highlight for me apart from the unveiling today was getting to see the theatre, I’m gobsmacked by it all. The stage is equal to the stage at the Palladium. I’d rather be on stage here. I never met Tony, or Morecambe and Wise, or Laurel and Hardy and they are the royalty of comedy. We were so lucky to have seen them.”
Dave Miles’ book on Tony Hancock, entitled ‘Tony Hancock: Spiral’ is available now. The book costs £12.99 plus £3.87 postage and packing from Dave Miles, 33, Raeburn Crescent, Whitburn, EH47 8HQ or email [email protected] for more.