The Liverpudlian comic was ‘one of the last of the music hall greats’, his publicist says
The comedy legend Sir Ken Dodd has died at the age of 90, his publicist has said.
The comic, famous for his long standup shows, as well as his Diddy Men and “tickling stick”, died days after leaving hospital. He married Anne Jones, his partner of 40 years, on Friday at their home in Liverpool, which was also the house where he was born.
His publicist Robert Holmes told the Press Association: “They got the registrar and were married in the house. He died two days later on Mother’s Day. Anne is obviously very upset. To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats.”
Holmes went on: “With Ken gone, the lights have been turned out in the world of variety. He was a comedy legend and genius.”
He said of Dodd’s relationship with Jones: “It’s a love story to beat them all.”
Dodd spent more than six weeks in the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital earlier this year, following a chest infection.
Dodd’s colleagues and fans were quick to pay tribute to him.
Actor John Challis, who played Boycie in comedy television series Only Fools and Horses, was one of the first to pay tribute following the news of Sir Ken Dodd’s death.
He tweeted: “So sorry to hear we have lost Ken Dodd.I met him once and I’ve never forgotten it. Gawd bless ‘im.”
Dara O Briain said he was “so happy” he had had the chance to meet Sir Ken. The Irish comedian, known for hosting panel shows such as Mock the Week, said on Twitter: “Ah, Ken Dodd has died. So happy I got to meet him once, and more importantly, saw him do one of his incredible 5 hour shows. He was an education to watch and, afterwards, at 1.30 am, he had beers with me in the dressing room and talked showbiz. A privilege, and a loss. RIP.”
Dodd’s career began in the 1950s and continued unabated over the following decades. He performed his last show at The Auditorium in the Liverpool Echo Arena on 28 December 2017.
His TV shows included The Ken Dodd Show, Beyond Our Ken and Ken Dodd’s Laughter Show, but he entered the big time in 1965 with the longest-ever run at the London Palladium – 42 weeks.
In the 1960s, he entered the Guinness Book of Records for the longest joke-telling session ever – 1,500 jokes in three-and-a-half hours – and the decade also saw him record hit singles such as Happiness, Tears and Promises.
In 1994, his Ken Dodd: An Audience With Ken Dodd show was filmed and released on video, followed in 1996 by the Ken Dodd: Live Laughter Tour and then Another Audience With Ken Dodd in 2002.
The comic was knighted in 2017 in honour of his decades-long career and charity work.
He stood trial for tax fraud in 1989 but was acquitted.
His first fiancee, Anita Boutin, died of a brain tumour in 1977 aged 45 after 24 years together.