Dick Pepper

Dick Leaver Pepper (24 June 1889 – 15 October 1962) was a musician, actor, and writer for the BBC.


Born in Putney, Pepper was the son of Will C. Pepper, founder of a long-running concert party called the White Coons, and the older brother of Harry S. Pepper.[1] His middle name of Leaver came from his mother, whose name was Annie Leaver before her marriage.[2]

Brought up by his father as an entertainer, Pepper picked up the banjo from those around him in the White Coons, and he also trained as a cinematograph operator. In the 1930s, he formed the "Kentucky Banjo Team" with Joe Morley and Tarrant Bailey, for a BBC Home Service radio programme called The Kentucky Minstrels.[1][3] In April 1934, he contributed an article to Radio Times on "Minstrels and Banjo-playing".[4] He went on to become a writer for the BBC.[5]

In 1925, Pepper married Eva C. Fazan. He died at Ashford Hospital, Stanwell, on 15 October 1962, aged 73,[6] leaving an estate worth £9,212. At the time of his death he was living at Little Prouton, 93 Chertsey Lane, Staines, Middlesex.[7] His widow was still living there when she died in 1968.[8]


  1. 1 2 "Dick Leaver Pepper", in Uli Heier, Rainer E. Lotz, The Banjo on Record: A Bio-discography, p. 346
  2. Register of Marriages for Fulham registration district, Jan-March 1886, vol. 1a, p. 399: PEPPER, William C and LEAVER, Annie
  3. Chris Sands, Tarrant Bailey Jr. Banjo Solos (2011), p. 13: "The Kentucky Banjo Team: Tarrant Bailey Jnr, Joe Morley and Dick Pepper."
  4. Radio Times, Issue 550 dated 13 April 1934, p. 93
  5. Andy Foster, Steve Furst, Radio comedy, 1938-68: a guide to 30 years of wonderful wireless (Virgin, 1996), pp. 10, 57, 61
  6. Register of Deaths for Middlesex South, volume 5f, October–December 1962, p. 46: "PEPPER, Dick L, 73"
  7. "Pepper, Dick Leaver otherwise Dick Lever" in Probate Index for 1962 at probatesearch.service.gov.uk, accessed 28 July 2016
  8. The London Gazette dated 7 January 1969, p. 278
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