Des O'Connor, TV's 'ultimate entertainer', dies aged 88

Des O'Connor, TV's 'ultimate entertainer', dies aged 88

Postby dutchman » Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:21 pm

Agent says multi-talented performer died peacefully in his sleep after a recent fall

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The entertainer Des O’Connor has died at the age of 88 after a television career which spanned six decades and saw him host some of the country’s most popular programmes.

The presenter, singer and comedian died on Saturday after a fall at home, according to his longtime agent Pat Lake-Smith.

“It is with great sorrow that I confirm that Des O’Connor passed away yesterday. He had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago, following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire,” she said in a statement.

“He was recovering well and had been in great spirits, visited by his family – in accordance with hospital lockdown regulations – and looking forward to going home. Unfortunately yesterday evening his condition suddenly deteriorated and he drifted peacefully away in his sleep.”

Born in London’s East End in 1932, O’Connor was the son of a refuse collector and a cleaner. He had rickets as a child and used a wheelchair. He had to relearn to walk aged seven. He was evacuated to Northampton during the second world war, where he briefly played for Northampton Town football club’s reserve team.

Following national service in the RAF he decided to become an entertainer and spent years on the road perfecting his act. He worked as a Butlin’s Red Coat and as the comedian at London’s Windmill theatre – where he accepted most customers were there for the displays of nudity rather than his jokes.

A multi-talented performer, O’Connor rose up through Britain’s variety show tradition and toured widely around the UK while in his 20s. His big break came when he landed his own eponymous variety show on ITV in 1963, becoming an instant household name.

After that he was rarely off British screens, hosting the long-running chat show Des O’Connor Tonight and presenting quiz programmes such as Take Your Pick! as well as having a brief stint in charge of Countdown.

O’Connor loved being on stage with a live audience and continued to tour until his final years, regularly selling out venues across the UK. Lake-Smith recalled him saying that “the sound of laughter was like the sound of heavenly music”.

He had an unexpected late-career revival with the ITV daytime chat show Today with Des and Mel during the mid-2000s, in which he was paired with Mel Sykes.

O’Connor is survived by his fourth wife, Jodie, and their son, Adam, along with his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina from previous marriages.

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Re: Des O'Connor, TV's 'ultimate entertainer', dies aged 88

Postby dutchman » Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:28 pm

Memories of Des O'Connor in Coventry

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Generations in Coventry have fond memories of TV presenter Des O'Connor.

He was one of the star acts during the summer seasons at the Coventry Theatre during the 1970s.

Later on in his career, he went on to appear at the nearby Civic Hall in Bedworth in 2013.

The Take Your Pick and Countdown presenter sadly passed away aged 88, reports the Mirror.

But his appearances locally will live long for the audiences who saw the popular entertainer live.

CoventryLive archives reveal he appeared during the 'Spring Show' at the Coventry Theatre in April 1965.

He headlined alongside Jimmy Tarbuck, Frankie Vaughan and French singer Shelia Southern on April 9 1965.

That was one of many appearances at the venue.

He also went on to take to the local stage a decade later.

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Re: Des O'Connor, TV's 'ultimate entertainer', dies aged 88

Postby rebbonk » Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:43 pm

R.I.P.
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Re: Des O'Connor, TV's 'ultimate entertainer', dies aged 88

Postby Melisandre » Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:25 pm

R.I.P
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