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Barry Cryer death: Comedian and actor dies aged 86

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British comedian Barry Cryer has died aged 86.

The veteran funny man died on Tuesday afternoon (25 January) at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, northwest London, according to a statement from his family.

He died “peacefully” and in “good spirits” surrounded by his family.

Cryer, the statement said, was “telling an Archbishop of Canterbury joke to a nurse not long before he died”.

Details of the funeral and memorial service will be posted on Cryer’s Twitter account.

The comic was a prolific writer whose long-running career saw him work with performers including Bruce Forsyth, Bob Hope, Spike Milligan, and The Two Ronnies.

He had appeared on the BBC Radio 4 show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue since its inception in 1972.

READ MORE: Stephen Fry and Piers Morgan lead tributes to ‘giant of British comedy’

Cryer also wrote episodes for the TV comedy Doctor in the House, which starred Barry Evans and Simon Cuff. The series ran for two seasons from 1969 to 1970.

In 2001, he was made an OBE and later received a lifetime achievement award in 2018 for his comedy career from the British Music Hall Society.

The Leeds-born comedian began his career at London’s Windmill Theatre.

Barry Cryer arrives at the The Oldie of the Year Awards, at the Savoy Hotel, London, on 19 October 2021 (PA)
Barry Cryer arrives at the The Oldie of the Year Awards, at the Savoy Hotel, London, on 19 October 2021 (PA)

He then became a regular collaborator with David Frost, writing for The Frost Report from 1966 to 1967. The position established Cryer as a standout writer.

Throughout the Seventies, the comedian regularly wrote with John Junkin. The duo wrote two Christmas specials for The Morecambe and Wise Show in 1972 and 1976.

He also hosted the ITV comedy panel show Jokers Wild, which ran from 1969 to 1974.

Earlier this month, the comedian launched a podcast with his son, titled Now, Where Were We?

Cryer married his wife Theresa – known as Terry – in 1962 and is survived by his four children: Tony, Dave, Bob and Jack.

Tributes have poured in for the beloved comedian, writer and actor.

Stephen Fry, Piers Morgan, Jon Holmes and Richard Herring are among the stars to pay tribute to Cryer on social media following news of his death.

“Such sad news, one of the absolute greats of comedy, Barry Cryer, is no more,” wrote Fry on Twitter.

“A glorious, gorgeous, hilarious and gifted writer and performer who straddled all the comic traditions. Universally beloved... Baz.”

Cryer was “coarse, hilarious ... but also unbelievably kind,” said Sandi Toksvig. “I loved him beyond all measure.”

By the start of the 1970s, Cryer had established himself as one of Britain’s leading comedy writers, with one-liners such as: “Picasso was burgled and did a drawing of the robbers. Police arrested a horse and two sardines.”

One of his first jokes told on stage was about a man driving down a country lane who runs over a cockerel.

He goes to the farmhouse and knocks on the door. A woman opens it and he says: “I appear to have killed your cockerel. I’d like to replace him.”

She replies: “Please yourself, the hens are round the back.”

In their statement, his family also asked for messages, photos or videos to be submitted to a book of condolence, details of which would also be announced on Twitter.

“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 regularly told fantastic stories and anecdotes about others – the many brilliant and fascinating people he’d worked with and knew – but as he was loved and admired by to many – why don’t we start telling some stories about Baz and his brilliant and mischievous life and career?,” the statement said.

“And to end, as dad would say, ‘Same time tomorrow?”

This article was amended on 31 January to remove a reference to Barry Cryer’s version of the song Purple People Eater making it to No 1 in the Finnish charts. Although it was reported almost universally after his death that this was the case, The Independent has been unable to verify this. Other sources report Cryer as having said they gave away a free car with every record. At the time of publishing the amendment, we were unable to state a definitive position. We are, however, happy for Cryer to have the last laugh.

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