Barry Cryer, British Comedy Legend, Has Died Aged 87

·3 min read
Barry Cryer in 2017 (Photo: Tabatha Fireman via Getty Images)
Barry Cryer in 2017 (Photo: Tabatha Fireman via Getty Images)

British comedian and actor Barry Cryer has died, at the age of 86.

The Leeds-born comic’s representatives confirmed the news of his death to BBC News on Thursday morning.

A statement from his family said: “Dad was a talented comedy writer and comedian in a particularly golden vintage. Incidentally he never really liked the terms ‘comedy writer’ or ‘comedian’ instead preferring hack and entertainer, and always thought the term ‘national treasure’ meant he’d just been dug up.

“He was, in his words, arrogant in his humility. He had a gift for friendship (as anyone who still has a landline will testify) and a genius for putting people at their ease. Oh yes, and he made many people laugh. A lot. Over many years.”

Barry initially focussed his comedy career in writing, contributing to shows like The Frost Report, The Two Ronnies and The Morecambe And Wise Show.

He also wrote for comedians and entertainers including Bob Hope, Kenny Everett, Bruce Forsyth, Spike Milligan and Frankie Howerd.

Barry Cryer photographed in 1975 (Photo: Radio Times via Getty Images)
Barry Cryer photographed in 1975 (Photo: Radio Times via Getty Images)

Later, Barry stepped more into the spotlight, contributing to panel shows like Just A Minute and I’m Sorry I Haven’t Got A Clue, the latter of which he continued to appear on until the present day.

In 2001, he was awarded an OBE for services to comedy, with Queen Elizabeth II telling him during his investiture to “keep on making people laugh”.

Barry continued to work long into his 80s, even launching his own podcast Now, Where Were We? last month, with guests including Stephen Fry and Miriam Margolyes.

Barry Cryer posing with his OBE medal (Photo: John Stillwell via PA Wire/PA Images)
Barry Cryer posing with his OBE medal (Photo: John Stillwell via PA Wire/PA Images)

Following the news of his death, tributes poured in from a number of his peers and friends, who hailed him as “one of the greats of British comedy”.

Stephen Fry tweeted that he was a “glorious, gorgeous, hilarious and gifted writer and performer who straddled all the comic traditions”, while Gyles Brandreth remembered him as a “great mentor and friend”.

Barry married his wife Theresa in 1962, with whom he had four children, Tony, Dave, Bob and Jack. The couple also had seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild, who was born in 2017.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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