Orville the Duck ventriloquist Harris says dyslexia cost him £7m

Ventriloquist Keith Harris has said he lost £7m pounds throughout his career through dyslexia.

Orville the Duck ventriloquist Harris says dyslexia cost him £7m

Ventriloquist Keith Harris has said he lost £7m pounds throughout his career through dyslexia.

The 66 year-old, best known for performing alongside the puppet Orville the Duck though the 1980s, has told a magazine he was duped into signing contracts on poor terms because he couldn't read them.

Harris is continuing to perform despite recovering from cancer.

He said he was dubbed “thick” at school and never learned to read.

Harris, who lives in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, with 48-year-old former fashion model wife Sarah and their two teenage children, told the Mail on Sunday: “I’ve made about £7m throughout my career, but I’ve lost it all too.

“It’s all down to the dyslexia. I can’t read or write. Reading contracts? I didn’t, I just signed them.

“I got into trouble many times. I signed myself away for 14 years to someone once – 25% I was paying. I had no idea.

“I’ve been brought up to trust people but you have to be careful. People think you’re very rich and want to see if they can make money out of you.”

Harris said that he covered up his problem by asking people to read out the lines in scripts and then remembering them.

He added: “I felt embarrassed about it, of course, because everyone thought I was intelligent. You put on a front.”

The Keith Harris show ran from 1982 to 1990, a period which also saw him score a chart success when Orville’s Song sold 400,000 copies.

But when the popular TV show was axed the ventriloquist spiralled into heavy drinking and depression.

He contemplated suicide by drowning himself in a duck pond but picked himself up and now works at holiday camps such as Butlin’s as well as appearing in pantos.

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