Harry Corbett OBE (28 January 1918 Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire — 17 August 1989) was an English puppeteer who created the 'Sooty' glove puppet character in 1948. Corbett was born in Bradford to James W. Corbett, a coal miner, and his wife Florence, née Ramsden.Deafness in one ear precluded Corbett from pursuing his musical ambitions although he played the piano in the Guiseley fish and chip restaurant owned by his mother's brother Harry Ramsden. His parents had a fish and chip business in Guiseley called Springfields, which remains open.In order to entertain his children while on holiday in Blackpool in 1948, he bought the original yellow bear glove puppet, then called Teddy, in a novelty shop on the end of the resort's North Pier for seven shillings and six pence (7s/6d) (equivalent 37½p). Later he used soot to blacken its ears and nose, hence the name "Sooty".His first appearance with the silent Sooty was in a 1952 BBC TV show, Talent Night. He was given a part in Peter Butterworth's TV show Saturday Special. He soon had his own show and was a regular favourite throughout the 1950s and '60s. His show combined simple magic tricks with slapstick comedy in which Sooty usually poured liquid over or attacked Corbett. After he suffered a heart attack at Christmas 1975, his younger son, Matthew, took over, buying out his father for £35,000. Harry continued his one man stage show after he gave up his TV appearances, and he died in his sleep on 17 August 1989, after playing to a capacity audience at Weymouth Pavilion in Weymouth, Dorset. He married Marjorie Hodgson in 1944. Corbett and his wife lived in the Dorset village of Child Okeford for most of their married life.
Sooty is a British glove puppet bear and TV character in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and other countries, created by Harry Corbett in 1948. The children's television show which bears his name has continued in various forms since the 1950s and, according to Guinness World Records, is the longest-running children's programme in the UK.