Tributes paid to 'ultimate entertainer' Des O'Connor who has died aged 88

Des O'Connor in "Dreamboats and Petticoats" at the Playhouse Theatre in London. (Photo by robbie jack/Corbis via Getty Images)
Des O'Connor in "Dreamboats and Petticoats" at the Playhouse Theatre in London. (Photo by robbie jack/Corbis via Getty Images)

Fans and friends of “ultimate entertainer” Des O'Connor have been paying tribute to the star who has died at the age of 88.

O’Connor died on Saturday, days after a fall at his home, his longtime agent and family friend Pat Lake-Smith said.

She said in a statement to the PA news agency that the “ultimate entertainer” had been recovering from the fall when he died.

Friend and former colleague Melanie Sykes, who worked with O’Connor on talk show Des and Mel, led the tributes.

She wrote on Instagram: “Des had the softest hands of anyone I ever met and the kindest of hearts. He had talent in every fibre of his being and was stubborn as a mule. He was the full ticket as a friend and colleague.

“When he chose me to be his co host on the ‘Today’ daytime show it was one the greatest days of my professional life. It was an education and a privilege to work with him for the years that followed. We worked long hours but always laughed lots, not least because when it it was showtime he would always tell me I looked like robbers dog!

“These years I will never forget and nor will I forget him. Darling Des you will be forever missed. Melanie.”

Piers Morgan tweeted: “RIP Des O’Connor, 88. A wondrously talented, warm, funny, charming man. Truly one of the nicest people in showbiz. What very sad news. Thanks for all the fun, Des.”

Presenter Paddy McGuinness said: “Such sad news. Des O’Connor was never afraid to laugh at himself and that was part of his charm. Whether it was Eric Morecambe ridiculing him, or Freddie Starr smashing his studio set up, Des always laughed along.

“Another part of my childhood telly viewing gone. RIP Des O’Connor.”

Actor Danny Jules-John said: “RIP Des O’Connor. A lovely man.”

Posting a clip of O’Connor’s famous appearance on the Morecambe and Wise Show, David Baddiel said: “RIP Des O’ Connor. It’s worth remembering how brilliant he is at his own expense in these sketches.”

Comedian Julian Clary said: “Always loved Des O'Connor. Cheerful and kind man. RIP Des.”

DJ Tony Blackburn tweeted: “So sorry to hear that Des O’Connor has passed away. He was a great entertainer and more importantly a very nice person. R.I.P.”

His agent said: “Des, who was 88, was so well loved by absolutely everyone. He was a joy to work with – he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional.

Entertainer Des O'Connor. October 1983. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Entertainer Des O'Connor. October 1983. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

“He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family – they were everything to him. He is survived by his wife Jodie, their son Adam and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina.

“Jodie’s world is shattered, she and Adam and Des’s daughters are hurting more than you could possibly imagine.

Read more: ‘Ultimate entertainer’ Des O’Connor dies aged 88

“Des was the ultimate entertainer.

“He loved being on stage – entertaining a live audience. He always said the sound of laughter was like the sound of heavenly music.

“He had a fabulous international TV career, presenting his own prime-time TV shows for over 45 years. On stage he starred at almost every leading venue throughout the world.”

Watch: Andre Previn on Morecambe and Wise