The youngest of three sons of David Jacobs, a prosperous Covent Garden fruit wholesaler, and his wife, Jeanette Victoria, née Goldsmid. His grandfather was known as 'the king of Caledonian market' and his grandmother 'the banana queen of Covent Garden' (Jacobs, Jacobs' Ladder, 7)
The fruit trade ran in the family, an exception being his great-aunt, Lena Verdi, a music-hall artiste. As a child Jacobs became interested in show-business and his impressions entertained audiences at the Rex Cinema, Haslemere.
The Jacobs family had a spacious house with a chauffeur and maid, and a governess who instilled in the young Jacobs the virtues of politeness and speaking properly
In 1944 Jacobs was called up for service in the Royal Navy, but following seamanship and radar courses, his navy service was entirely land-based.
Jacobs's television career included Little Women (1950), playing Laurie, Hi There! (1951), as Benny Hill's feed, Wednesday Magazine (1959), Come Dancing (from 1956), the Eurovision Song Contest (1957–66), What's My Line? (1974), and Where Are They Now?(1979). On ITV he was chairman on Make Up Your Mind (Granada, 1956) followed by Tell the Truth (ATV, 1957). But his public profile soared when, thanks to his new agent, Bunny Lewis, he became chairman of Juke Box Jury on BBC television (1959–67).
(Source Philip Mellor)