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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 18:52 GMT
Comedian's body found in Thames
Malcolm Hardee
Friends reported comedian Malcolm Hardee missing
The body of comedian Malcolm Hardee has been found in the Thames near his home.

Police said friends reported Hardee, 55, missing from the Wibbly Wobbly pub - the converted barge he ran in Rotherhithe - on Monday evening.

Police divers started searching for him in the River Thames, in south-east London, on Tuesday and his body was found on Wednesday morning.

Hardee was known for running many comedy clubs in London but most recently ran Up The Creek in Greenwich.

Comedy book

A post-mortem examination is due to take place at Greenwich Mortuary on Thursday, police said.

Police said an inquest will be opened at Southwark Coroner's Court in due course.

Hardee became a comedian after being jailed a number of times for crimes such as cheque fraud, burglary and escaping custody.

In the introduction to the book he wrote with John Fleming, Sit-Down Comedy: Stand-ups swap the stage for the page, he said: "There are only two things you can do when you come out of prison and you want immediate employment.

"You can either be a minicab driver or you can go into showbusiness."

He regularly performed at both Edinburgh and Glastonbury festivals and was known for his more risqué acts.

Hardee founded the Greatest Show On Legs balloon dance troupe and used his genitals to do an impression of Charles De Gaulle.

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