Entertainment Britain mourns as ‘ultimate entertainer’ Des O’Connor dies

Britain mourns as ‘ultimate entertainer’ Des O’Connor dies

Comedian Eric Morecambe visits Des O'Connor (right) in London’s Wellington Hospital in February 1978. Photo: PA
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Veteran British entertainer Des O’Connor has died at 88, days after a fall at his home.

The TV star and singer died on Saturday, his long-time 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.

“It is with great sorrow that I confirm that Des O’Connor passed away Saturday 14 November”.

“He had been admitted to hospital just over a week ago, following a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire.

“He was recovering well and had been in great spirits, visited by his family – in accordance with hospital lockdown regulations – and looking forward to going home.

“Unfortunately yesterday evening his condition suddenly deteriorated and he drifted peacefully away in his sleep.

“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.

“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’ daughters are hurting more than you could possibly imagine.

“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.”

The four-time married star appeared on stages around the world including hundreds of shows at the London Palladium.

He had his own US TV program and his chat show Des O’Connor Tonight was a British television staple for 25 years.

Aged 75 in 2007, he married singer-songwriter Jodie Brooke Wilson, then 38, four years after he first proposed and 17 years after they first got together.

They had a son three years before the wedding.

He had four daughters from his three previous marriages.

His singing career saw him sell 16 million records and spend 117 weeks in top 10 of the charts.

O’Connor was made a CBE for his services to entertainment and broadcasting.