Born in New Springs, Wigan, Lancashire, he left school aged 13 and worked in a variety of menial jobs until two years later he joined an acrobatic troupe. In 1928, he began to tour as a comedian, principally in Lancashire and the North, developing his own show, Randle's Scandals. He took equity in John E. Blakeley's Manchester-based Mancunian Film Studios and appeared in eight of its productions.
Randle's mischievous wit led to a running conflict with Harry Barnes, police chief of Lancashire seaside resort Blackpool, who frequently banned and censored his material. Randle responded to his critics in robust fashion, frequently throwing his false teeth into the audience and once bombarding Blackpool from an aeroplane with toilet rolls. Randle's police charge sheet is lodged with the Lancashire Constabulary collection, cared for by Lancashire County Museums.
On the outbreak of World War II, having failed his medical to join the RAF, Randle joined the Home Guard and started to establish a career in films that even overtook that of Formby. His iconoclastic portrayal of the underdog, flouting authority and disrupting the establishment found a ready audience in a population suffering the privations of war.
With the decline of the music halls in the 1950s, Randle's popularity faded. Pressed by debts and tax arrears and suffering from the consequences of a life of alcohol abuse, he was made bankrupt by the tax authorities in 1955. He died in Blackpool of gastroenteritis, in 1957 and is buried in Carleton Cemetery, Blackpool.
He had married May Annie Victoria, known as Queenie, in 1924. There were no children but Manchester artist Arthur Delaney was alleged to be Randle's illegitimate son by fellow performer Genevieve Willis (also known as Delaney).
A detailed biography of Frank Randle and his career can be found at CP Lee essay on Frank Randle and also see ' Photographs, memorabilia and more information on Frank Randle
A new 232 page biography, Wired to the Moon: Frank Randle - A Life, was published in November 2006.
Randle's comedy achievement was recently celebrated in Grin up North, a major touring exhibition which looked at the unique Northern sense of humour.
In 2007 a celebratory plaque was unveiled to Randle on Blackpool's North Pier.
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