William John Owen Rowbotham was an English actor and song-writer born of a humble background well known for playing the same kind of blokes on both celluloid and TV. He had an affinity towards acting ever since he was young and did all kinds of job to make his dream come true. He was establishing a blue-character name for himself in films like Johnny in the Clouds, Secret Flight, When the Bough Breaks, The Square Ring among others. Though he was a writer at heart he penned songs, musicals and plays over the years. In the 60s, he produced the stage-musical The Matchgirl while his focus was on film slapstick with Carry-on series.
"Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime!"
The role of Compo in BBC’s Last of the Summer Wine (1973) bought him the much-needed stardom on celluloid. His character is scruffy, working-class pensioner often exploited by the dominant characters. He was awarded with MBE in 1976 on account of his steadfast work for National Association of Boys Clubs and also for the role of chairman of the Performing Arts Advising Panel.