Frank Terry
(Nat Clifford)
born: 03 May 1871
Worcester, Worcestershire,
died: 26 October 1948
Burbank, California,
United States of America
(gastric carcinoma, age 77)
British actor, director and gag man who sometimes worked under the alias of Nat Clifford. He was married to Lillian Terry, with whom he had a daughter, Madeline Terry.
On August 24th, 1919 Terry accidentally caused fellow comedian Harold Lloyd severe injury when he handed Lloyd what he believed to be a prop bomb. It was real, it exploded and Lloyd lost two fingers, a thumb as a result.
Some sources (which originated with Frank Terry himself) wrongly give a birth date/location of May 3, 1870 in Troy, New York.

Lewis Davenport submits the following extensive research for the website:
He was born Ernest Dovay on 3 May 1871 in Worcester, Worcestershire, England. His birth was registered in the June quarter of 1871, in Worcester registration district, volume 6C page 308. His parents were Francis Dovay and Susannah Elizabeth Leete, who were married in 1868 in Reading, Berkshire, England.
In the April 1871 UK census, Ernest's parents were staying at The Old Greyhound Inn, New Street, Worcester. They are listed as Frank Edwards, aged 27, born Gravesend, Travelling Vocalist, and Louisa Edwards, aged 27, born London, also a Travelling Vocalist. With them is Ernest's older brother, Francis G Edwards, aged 2, born Exeter.
Ernest Dovay was baptised 1 Sep 1872 at St Stephen, Rochester Row, Westminster, London, England. The baptism entry reads: "Ernest, son of Francis and Susannah Elizabeth Dovay, 4 Francis Place, Professional Vocalist."
London school admission records in 1878 and 1879 record Ernest Edwards, born 3 May 1871, father Frank Edwards, being admitted to various schools in Wandsworth and Lambeth.
In the April 1881 UK census, the family were living at 14 Mason Street, Southwark, London. They are listed as Francis Edwards, aged 38, born Gravesend, Gas Engineer, wife Susannah Edwards, aged 37, born London, and sons Francis G Edwards, aged 12, born Exeter, and Ernest Edwards, aged 10, born Worcester.
On 5 December 1895 Ernest Edwards married Emily Knapp at The Register Office, Lambeth. The marriage certificate reads as follows: "Ernest Edwards, 23, Bachelor, Music Hall Artiste, 33 Montford Pl. Kensington, son of F D Edwards, Comedian, married Emily Knapp, 20, Spinster, 3 Pearman St, Westminster Bridge Rd, daughter of Robert Knapp, Tobacconists Assistant. Witnesses: Horace Brooke and Susannah Elizabeth Dovay."
Horace Brooke was a comedian (real name Horatio Booth) and Susannah Elizabeth Dovay was Ernest's mother. She died in 1914.
Ernest Edwards had two children by Emily Knapp. A son named Ernest, born 1897, died 1916 at The Somme, and a daughter named Emily Frances born 1898. From 1911 onwards Ernest's wife Emily Edwards (nee Knapp) lived in Mitcham, Surrey with Frank Miles, an actor. She died in 1927.
Between 1899 and 1913 Ernest Edwards travelled extensively in South Africa, Australia and elsewhere. He gave several interviews to Australian newspapers in which he told the most amazing stories. For example, on 16 Sep 1904 he gave an interview with the Hebrew Standard newspaper, Sydney in which he says that he is a Jew, he has written several novels under the pen name "Frank Melrose", he has had several paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, he can speak five languages and he is an expert clairvoyant!
On 12 Jan 1911 "Nathaniel Frank Clifford" married Ethel Louise Murphy in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. In May 1911 he was wanted by the police in New South Wales, Australia for having deserted her.
In February 1913 "Nat Clifford" was reported to have died on board a ship travelling from South Africa to Bombay. Fake news!
On 23 Sep 1915 Ernest Edwards married Lilian Mary Bowles at St Joseph, Indiana USA. The marriage record reads as follows: "Ernest Frank Edwards, son of Frank Edwards and Elizabeth Leete, married Lilian Mary Bowles, daughter of Henry John Bowles and Emily Attree."
Ernest and Lilian had two daughters: Madeline Mae Edwards 1916-1957 and Frances Mary Edwards 1920-1990.
All the stuff about him being born in Troy, New York, running away to join the circus, and serving in the US Navy, is untrue.
Attached (at the bottom of this page) is an article about Frank Terry from the "Stockton Independent", a California newspaper, dated 14 Jan 1922. Right at the end it says that Frank Terry's son was killed at the Battle of the Somme on 23 July 1916, aged 20. Also attached are the Commonwealth War Graves record of the death of Ernest Miles alias Clifford, and the record of the war pension that was paid to his mother, Emily Miles of Mitcham.
Real name: Ernest Dovay Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


Hustling For Health
Home owner

An Eastern Westerner

High And Dizzy
Gentleman in hallway

Get Out And Get Under
Neighbor in garden

Fast Black

Is Marriage The Bunk?
[unidentified character]

What The World's Coming To?
Man in window

The Pajama Party
Parkinson, the butler
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess -

Any Old Port!
Lunch wagon owner

Red Noses
Chris Jaunsen

Me And My Pal
Hives the butler / Voice on radio

The Devil's Brother

The Midnight Patrol

Bedtime Worries
Voice on radio


Acknowledgements: (UK Census - Frank and Louisa Edwards 1871 Worcester) (UK Birth - Ernest Dovay 1871 Worcester) (UK Census - Francis and Susannah Edwards 1881 Southwark) (UK Marriage - Ernest Edwards and Emily Knapp 1895 Lambeth) (UK Birth - son Nathaniel Ernest Clifford 1897 Southwark) (UK Birth - daughter Emily Frances Edwards 1899 Lambeth) (Passenger list - Nat Clifford 1904 Adelaide) (Passenger list - Nathaniel Clifford 1905 New York) (Passenger list - Nathan and Ernest Clifford 1909 Sydney) (Passenger list - Frank Clifford 1914 Quebec) (US Marriage - Ernest Frank Edwards and Lilian Mary Bowles 1915 Indiana) (US census - Ernest F Edwards 1920 Pasadena) (US census - Earnest F Edwards 1930 Pasadena) (US Death - Frank Ernest Edwards 1948 Burbank) (FindAGrave - Frank Ernest Edwards 1948 Los Angeles)
Lewis Davenport (extensive research and information; biography notes)

This page was last updated on: 08 March 2021