Izzard still feels pain of mum’s death

[from WalesOnline.co.uk]

A NEW film about the rise of stand-up legend Eddie Izzard will pinpoint his mother’s death in Wales as the moment that drove him to perform.

Culled from exhaustive amounts of the award-winning comic’s archived home video footage, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story reveals how he turned applause into a substitute for his late mother Dorothy’s affections.

The movie, due out next year, gives a never-seen-before insight into the workings of the enigmatic star’s mind, culminating with Izzard confessing: “Everything I’ve ever done is an attempt to get her back.”

Izzard’s long-term publicist and friend Karon Maskill said the funnyman, who was only six in 1967 when his midwife mum succumbed to cancer while living in Skewen, near Neath, spent nearly a decade helping to slavishly assemble the film. It traces his rise from being the young son of travelling BP worker Harold in Yemen to the global star he is today.

But Karon said it was the family’s time in South Wales that would provide the catalyst for Eddie becoming the man we all know and love.

“Those were very happy days for him but when Dot died it left a huge hole in his life, as you can imagine when a small child loses a parent like that.

“Not only that, but her death also had a devastating effect on the family as a whole because Harold was left looking after both Eddie and his brother which, when you’re on your own in another country and trying to hold down a full-time job, is no easy task.”

The boys were packed off to boarding school in Porthcawl – an experience Eddie hated – before the family moved on again to East Sussex a few years later.

“He went on to study financial management and accountancy at Sheffield University but ended up spending most of his time in the drama department,” explained Karon.

“From then on I don’t think he did any work whatsoever and left the course convinced the stage was for him, having become enamoured with the likes of Monty Python and Fry and Laurie.

“He struggled for years, doing street theatre, attempting stand-up and not being very good,” she added.

“But then in 1991 he did a charity gig in London, way down the bill, and blew everyone away with this rambling sketch about being raised by wolves.

“After that things just went crazy.”

The film comes shortly after Izzard hit the headlines for running 43 marathons in 51 days across the UK for Sport Relief despite not being athletic. He even added miles onto his Herculean feat to pass by his childhood house in Wales.

The funnyman first came up with the idea for the documentary when he returned to Britain after a long spell acting on Broadway in A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.

“He came home and suddenly realised he had no comedy material at all to take on tour, so someone suggested he just go on stage and talk about his childhood,” said Karon.

“So he did, and that got the ball rolling on Believe.

“And, without maybe having realised it before, it slowly dawned on him that the reason he put himself out there like that was because an audience could give him that love back, that feeling that was what was missing from his life which normally he’d have got from his mum.”

She added that Izzard fans would also be in for a treat, the documentary showing exclusive clips of Eddie’s very early routines.

“Oh, there’s great stuff on there, like the act he’d do up in Edinburgh where he’d try getting out of a straitjacket,” said Karon.

“A lot of it is a real reflection of that whole period in the ’80s when alternative comedy was king and stand-up was being heralded as the new rock and roll.”

So, did Eddie always have that unique delivery style of his?

“Yeah, he’s always talked b******s,” joked Karon.

Written by Momo in: Believe Reviews |

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