Whether it’s his personal or professional life, Lenny Henry brings his unique style of humor and grace to whichever role he has, and wins the hearts of millions of people in the UK and around the world.
While he is known by “Lenny Henry” by his television fans, Sir Lenworth George Henry is so much more than your average British television personality. While he is a great stand-up comedian, actor, singer, and television presenter, Henry is also known as being the co-founder of the charity Comic Relief, a prominent biennial charity event where comedians from all over the UK are invited to perform, and whose proceeds are used to help those who are affected by war and famine in Africa. Henry is also the current chancellor of Birmingham City University.
He earned more honors throughout his life beyond his fame as a television personality. In 1999, Henry was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 2015, he received an even greater honor when he was knighted at the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to drama and charity. In 2016, he was named a fellow of the Royal Television Society, and he was also awarded an honorary doctorate at the Nottingham Trent University.
Who is Lenny Henry?
Born in Dudley on August 29, 1958, Lenworth George Henry was one of seven children to Jamaican immigrants. As a young man, he began his career on the stage as a performer for “The Black and White Minstrel Show”, however, the show gained a reputation for being one of the most racist shows in British history. In later years, Henry would regret his part in the show, and said that it was the reason that led him to a “period of profound depression”.
However, he did not let this first negative experience stain his love for performing. During the 1980s, he starred and performed in various shows, such as the children’s program Tiswas, and The Comic Strip, where he would meet Dawn French, the woman who would become his wife. In the 1990s, he also started his career in film, when he starred in the Hollywood movie “True Identity”, but it did not pan out well. Eventually, he returned to British television, this time turning his talents to the drama genre. He starred in several British dramas, such as BBC’s “Alive and Kicking” and “Hope and Glory”.
Henry is also known for being an open critic of British television over the years, calling out the lack of ethnic diversity in British programming. In 2014, he called the lack of minorities in British television as “appalling”, and even today calls for inclusivity and diversity.
Their lifestyle and weight problems
Although Henry did not have a weight problem growing up, it was during his career as a professional actor and comedian that he starting having trouble with his diet and weight gain. As a comedian, he would travel to different places to perform, and it is not always easy to have a healthy diet on the road. In fact, Henry would often eat unhealthy takeaway and junk food, because it was the easiest kind of food that can be found after a late-night show. What’s more, he would indulge in alcohol as a way to relax and release his stress.
Over time, the stress of constant traveling, paired with the regular consumption of alcohol and unhealthy food took a toll on Henry’s health, and he was diagnosed with several health issues, most of which stemmed from his increased weight, fatigue, and compromised immune system.
How Did they Lose Weight?
After receiving his diagnosis, Henry decided to become more serious with his health and became stricter with his diet and exercise regimen. He cut out alcohol and sugar from his diet and made the switch to eating healthy fat and lean meats. He also increased his consumption of fruits and vegetables. He admitted that it wasn’t easy, because he had to remove all the things that he liked to eat from his diet, but removing all the excess calories from his diet helped him remove around three stones from his weight.
He also started to become more physically active. He began to jog more frequently, and over time, incorporated other types of physical activity in his daily regimen. Today, Henry does a variety of different exercises “to keep it interesting”, such as yoga, Pilates, and dance.
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