British entertainer Keith Harris lost an $11.9 million (£7 million) fortune because severe dyslexia left him unable to understand the contracts he was signing.

The 66-year-old performer, best known for his ventriloquist act with duck puppet Orville, suffers from the reading condition and he signed a number of unfavourable contracts throughout his career as he wasn't able to fully understand them.

Harris tells Britain's Mail on Sunday, "I've made about £7 million throughout my career, but I've lost it all too. It's all down to the dyslexia. I can't read or write. Reading contacts? I didn't, I just signed them.

"I got into trouble many times. I signed myself away for 14 years to someone once - 25 per cent I was paying. I had no idea. I've been brought up to trust people but you have to be careful. People think you're very rich and want to see if they can make money out of you."

Harris said he managed his dyslexia during his career by asking friends to read out scripts so he could learn his lines, adding, "I felt embarrassed about it, of course, because everyone thought I was intelligent."

The ventriloquist briefly considered drowning himself in a duck pond when his Tv show ended in 1990, but he now works at holiday camps and in family pantomime theatre shows.