Des O’Connor leads tributes to comedian Freddie Starr

Des O’Connor has led tributes to “borderline genius” Freddie Starr following the star’s death aged 76.

The comic made several memorable appearances on O’Connor’s chat show in his heyday.

“At his best, Freddie was borderline genius,” the entertainer said.

Des O’Connor
Des O’Connor (Ian West/PA)

“Always unpredictable, he could create mayhem in a TV studio with his wacky, unique humour,” he said in a statement to the Press Association.

Russ Abbot, who appeared in Starr’s Variety Madhouse comedy series in 1979, described the stand-up as a “loose comedy cannon”.

He said: “You never knew what he would do next. A natural funnyman and hilarious.

Charity Dinner Highgrove Abbott
Russ Abbot with his wife Trish (Barry Batchelor/PA)

“He helped launch my career of course and for that I will always be grateful.

“He was hugely popular in his day, unique in his unpredictability and bursting with a talent not seen before or since.”

Comedian Bobby Davro told Good Morning Britain “I might have been one of the last people to speak to him”.

He said: “I went over to Spain to do a couple of gigs last year. Someone said he was living in that place in Spain. I got in touch with him, I got hold of his number and phoned him up.

“At first he didn’t really feel like talking and then he called me back…”

Davro asked if Starr “would like to meet up for a cup of tea in town. He said, ‘No, I’ve not been too well’…

“I want to remember the Freddie we all remembered. Rest in peace, Freddie. He was fantastic.”

He added: “He was the most naturally funny man I’ve ever seen. He had funny bones.”

Fellow Liverpudlian comedian and TV personality Les Dennis said Starr was a “one off”.

“Freddie Starr was so exciting to watch live,” he tweeted.

“A true clown who could also sing like Elvis. A total one off. RIP.”

Starr’s fellow comic Jim Davidson was also among those paying tribute.

He tweeted: “Just heard the news. Freddie Starr was the greatest.”

Former ‘Allo ‘Allo! actress Vicki Michelle said he had been a “great comedian”, while Apprentice boss Lord Sugar hailed him as a “very funny man”.

Starr, a household name who rose to fame in the 1970s, was found dead at his home in Spain, The Sun said.

A post on Facebook and Twitter pages claiming to belong to Starr appeared to confirm the news.

It said: “This is Freddie’s manager just to confirm Freddie has passed away. R.i.p to our greatest comedian of all time.”

Merseyside-born Starr was the lead singer of the Merseybeat group the Midniters during the 1960s and rose to national prominence in the early 1970s after appearing on Opportunity Knocks.

He was known by fans for his eccentric and often unpredictable behaviour.

According to The Sun, Starr was found dead inside his apartment in the resort of Mijas on the Costa Del Sol.

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