Barry Cryer dies at the age of 86 as showbiz greats pay tribute to the BBC Radio 4 I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue stalwart who wrote for Kenny Everett and Morecambe and Wise.
English writer, comedian and actor Barry Cryer, once dubbed the ‘King of Comedy’, has died at the age of 86.
The legendary funny man was a stalwart on BBC Radio 4’s popular panel game ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’, first featuring as a host in 1972 and then as a panelist for almost 50 years.
He wrote for many household showbiz names, including Sir Bruce Forsyth, Sir David Frost, The Two Ronnies and legendary radio DJ and television presenter Kenny Everett.
But Cryer wrote some of his best work alongside John Junkin in the 1970s, when the pair teamed-up to write for Morecambe and Wise, penning the comedy duo’s 1972 and 1976 Christmas shows.
A supremely talented writer and comedian in his own right, he was made an OBE for services to comedy in 2001. In a BBC article reporting on the honour, Cryer was titled the ‘King of Comedy’.
Today tributes have flooded in for the star, who is originally from Leeds and had been married to his wife Terry for almost 60 years. The couple have four children.
One of his sons, Bob Cryer, himself a writer, today said the comedian had died ‘peacefully, in good spirits and with his family around him’.
‘He leaves behind him a life of fun, joy, love and silliness and we’ll all be doing our best to maintain that legacy,’ he added.
The cause of the comedian’s death, on Tuesday, January 25, has not yet been made public.
Meanwhile, in a statement released today, his family said: ‘He had a gift for friendship and a genius for putting people at their ease. Oh yes, and he made many people laugh. A lot.’
Meanwhile BBC Director General Tim Davie also paid tribute to Cryer. He said in a statement: ‘Barry Cryer was a uniquely funny, talented and generous person. He was an incredible comedian and writer.
‘If you heard or saw a great sketch there was always a good chance Barry was behind it. He worked with every major showbiz legend because everyone wanted to work with him. Barry will be hugely missed by his many friends at the BBC and the wider public.’
Colleagues at BBC Radio 4 also paid tribute, writing a Twitter post: ‘We’re so sad to learn that our old friend and comedy inspiration Barry Cryer has died, aged 86.’
A host of famous faces also paid tribute to Cryer today. Close friend, the actor, broadcaster, writer and former politician Gyles Brandreth, wrote on Twitter: ‘Baz was just the loveliest guy: funny and generous.
‘He’d worked with everybody & everybody he worked with liked him. shall miss his happy company so much – & his regular phone calls: he gave you a gem of a joke with each one.’
Actor, comedian, screenwriter and director Mark Gattis also paid tribute, he wrote: ‘Barry Cryer was the real deal. An incredibly funny man who worked with – and wrote for – the giants of comedy.