Where Are They Now?
Retired UK Cabaret subscribers make up a very significant percentage of our magazine subscribers. In this new feature, Mark Ritchie takes a look at past careers and meets former show business favourites.
This month’s subject is anything but fully retired. Kenny Cantor lives, eats, sleeps and breathes show business. Kenny is still mega-busy. After all, as one very wise man once told me, no-one really retires in show business, the phone just stops ringing.
It has been a long time of course since Kenny’s variety heydays and long jaunts to live and work in far flung corners of the globe. The surprising thing from my point of view, when researching this feature, is that many people seem to forgotten just how popular Kenny was, back in the days when his star was still very much in the ascendancy.
At the age of four young Kenny started learning circus skills and by the time he was 15 he was an accomplished acrobat, juggler and clown. Following his father into life in variety, Kenny’s extraordinary showbiz journey took him all over the globe. Australia, New Zealand and the former Rhodesia, known these days as Zimbabwe were all on Kenny’s route, as a comedian, television quiz show host and all-round entertainer.
Kenny Cantor still lives on the Suffolk coast, where he ran one of the holiday centres in that part of the world for many seasons, building the park at Kessingland into a major concern. The park was sold on not once, but twice and these days it belongs to the giant Haven Chain. I know from personal experience what it is like to run entertainment on a holiday park and then find yourself out on your ear, when the big boys move in. When it happened to me, I launched this publication and went back on the stage. Kenny’s response was to launch a theatre school and a production company, along with his wife Caron.
An active member of the Grand Order of Water Rats, Kenny’s mind is absorbed in show business every single day. From taking touring variety and music hall style shows into theatres, community halls and even schools.
I asked Kenny if he could possibly single out one of the highlights from his career. Kenny said;’ While on stage at The Theatre Royal in Windsor, in front of an audience which included HRH Princess Margaret, there was a power cut and all the lights went out.’ Kenny’s response was to carry on telling gags and ab-libbing for over an hour, until the lights came back on. The result was a thoroughly deserved standing ovation.
Too more Royal Command shows followed, with the second being staged at the greatest variety theatre in the world, the London Palladium. Kenny Cantor has seen it, done it and earned the proverbial tee-shirt. Long may he continue!