William James Te Wehi Taitoko MBE (17 January 1948 - 7 August 1991) better known by his stage name 'Billy T. James', was a New Zealand entertainer, comedian, musician and actor. He became a key figure in the development of New Zealand comedy, a household name during his lifetime, and remains an icon to the present day. James joined the Maori Volcanics Showband in the 1970s and performed around the world. Going solo in Australia and then New Zealand saw him in great demand for his skits and impressions and his cabaret singing. He adopted the stage name Billy T. James because 'it was something the Australians could pronounce'. In 1980 he appeared in the variety show Radio Times, the success of which led to his own comedy sketch show in 1981, The Billy T James Show (see section).
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