Ventriloquist Keith Harris has revealed he lost a £7m fortune because his dyslexia meant he could not read contracts.
The 66-year-old, who found fame in the 1980s with his puppet sidekick Orville the Duck, said he was dubbed “thick” at school and never learned to read.
It meant that he was duped into signing unfavourable contracts and still continues to work today despite recovering from a severe form of cancer in the spleen.
Harris, who lives in Poulton, with 48-year-old former fashion model wife Sarah and their two teenage children, said: “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 per cent 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.