For Lionel Blair, a showbiz veteran who died yesterday at the age of 92, tributes have been pouring in from all corners of the entertainment and broadcasting industries.
His management company confirmed that the veteran showbiz star, who was a prominent figure in British TV throughout the late 1960s and 1970s died on Thursday morning surrounded by his loved ones.
According to the agent for the star, he lived to a very old age and was loved by his family. I believe he died in their company, which would be lovely.
Bonnie Langford, actress, shared a photo of herself dancing with Blair last night. Privileged that I was your dance partner.
And comedian and writer Gyles Brandreth said: ‘Lionel Blair – he was just the best: a powerhouse of positivity and a wonderful talent as a dancer, choreographer & entertainer.
‘He told me stories of his time with Errol Flynn & Ernest Hemingway – he lived his long life to the full & leaves a legacy of style & smiles & laughter.’
Tributes have poured for Lionel Blair who died at the age of 92 yesterday surrounded by his family
Tributes have poured for the showbiz veteran Lionel Blair who died at the age of 92 yesterday. Bonnie Langford, an actress, shared a photo of herself dancing with Blair. Gyles Brandreth, comedian and writer, said that the star was a ‘powerhouse of positivity.
Piers Morgan tweeted, “RIP Lionel Blair. A wonderful all-round entertainer & lovely man. It’s sad news.
Sheila Ferguson, the singer who appeared alongside Blair on the Real Marigold Hotel wrote: ‘OMG. I just learned that LionelBlair, my darling, has died.
‘Iconically, I was just thinking about you today. It hurts. RIPLionelBlair. Friend since the 70’s, #TheRealMarigoldHotel and beyond.’
Broadcaster Danny Baker tweeted that ‘The greatest showbiz tale I know has Lionel Blair its hero. It’s true. It could be said here.
‘But I knew Lionel well. He would respond, “Oh, darling, keep that for the act, don’t throw it away. Are you mad?” I will.
January 8-9, 2008 – Blackheath Halls And may you be blessed, Guvnor.
Emma Kennedy tweeted that she was glad to have met Lionel Blair. He was a genius. He was full of fruity, magical stories that end with a wink. What a career. What a talent. £RIPLionel’
Actor Julian Clary tweeted: RIP, Lionel Blair. A showbiz trooper if there was ever one.
Ed Byrne, stand-up comedian tweeted: “One highlight of my short-lived Saturday morning radio show on BBC London (which i co hosted with my mom) was when we had Lionel Blair guest.
We’re’smoking fags’ and have gin-and-tonics with him at 11am. We got him to tap dance on a sheet plywood. He said, “Legend.”
Actor Antony Cotton tweeted: “Good night, Lionel Blair. I was honored to have had the opportunity to meet him and work with him a few times. He was divine x’
Last night’s tribute to the veteran star included comedian Ed Byrne and singer Michael Ball, as well as comedian and writer Gyles brandreth
Elsewhere Christopher Biggins said he and Blair often spoke on the phone and Blair had called him two weeks ago but he was out at the time.
BBC News reported that he said: “He was just the greatest, most wonderful, kind and funny, real giver to life. His energy was extraordinary.
Biggins stated that he met Blair while watching the long-running series Give Us a Clue, which Blair starred alongside Una Stubbs, who also died this year.
He said, “He’s up here now entertaining with Una. I’m sure.”
Biggins said Blair was a “very competitive” person who loved to win. He added: “He was just marvellous, and a wonderful entertainer who is going to be sadly missed.”
Blair was described by the TV star as having a “great sense of humor” and being a “tribute to his wonderful families”. He was also called the “king of pantomime” and a man who was “adored” by the public.
He said, “He could sing, and he could dance, he was exactly like Bruce Forsyth.”
Blair was born in Montreal (Canada) and moved to Stamford Hill in north London with his family when he turned two years old.
The veteran showbiz performer, who has appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and BBC’s The Real Marigold Hotel in recent years, was able to feed his passion for performing while he was protected from air raids during World War II.
He was evacuated to Oxford with his sister Joyce, and his mother Deborah, when war broke out.
The family spent a short time in the countryside, but they returned to London after witnessing the German plane crash. Myer, their father called them back to London.
According to the agent of the star, he was’very ripe’ and ‘loved by his family’
The legendary showbiz star was a prominent figure on British TV screens throughout the late 1960s, the 1970s
After the birth of their second child, in 1971, the actor and choreographer is pictured with Susan Blair.
Liza Goddard, Michael Parkinson and Lionel Blair as team leaders on the game show Give us a Clue
“If that can happen there then what’s the point in being in the country apart from one another? Blair claimed that his father had told him.
Blair, a young man, got his first taste in showbiz watching Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and Shirley Temple at the cinema before he went home to copy them.
Blair was 13 years old when his father died from complications from a hernia or duodenal ulcer. Blair stated, “It changed everything.”
“It was the first time that I had ever thought of him, and I will never see him again.” It was so horrible, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a loss as terrible.
Blair stated that he had to learn ‘artificially fast” after the death of his father. He was already making a name as an actor.
But then, his mother died, leaving him orphaned.
He has been a choreographer, dancer, director, and actor throughout his showbiz career.
He was the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at London Palladium in the West End and also had roles in Lady Be Good and Mr Cinders.
He choreographed TV shows that featured stars like Peggy Lee and Anthony Newley. He also appeared in performances with Sammy Davis Jr., Rat Pack member, for Royal Variety.
Blair selected Blair for Great Lives on BBC Radio Four, in 2010, and the pair became close friends.
Blair was also a choreographer on the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night. Blair is most famous for being the captain of the men’s team on Give Us A Clue.
He reprised the role in a Comic Relief special in 2011 and was back on TV for Celebrity Big Brother 2014. He spent 15 days in the house and exited third behind boxer Evander Holyfield, and Jasmine Waltz.
He was one of the stars who appeared in 2017’s BBC reality series The Real Marigold Hotel. Blair’s popularity in British entertainment saved a man’s lives.
In 2006, he and comedian Alan Carr were forced by the comedy to talk a man to take his own life.
The pair were filming a pilot for Carr’s End Of The Pier at Blackpool’s North Pier when a man appeared on the pier and threatened to throw him off.
Blair and Carr talked to him until police arrived to bring him home. Blair stated, “It really scared my – I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
“We spoke for about 10 minutes. He kept repeating his desire to end it all. He double-taked when someone said that it was Lionel Blair.
“I reached out and he grabbed my arms, and we lifted him up.”
Blair tried his hand on reality television in 2014 when he was a contestant in Celebrity Big Brother. Jim Davidson won the show, with Dappy finishing second.
Blair spent 15 days at the house and exited third behind Evander Holyfield and Jasmine Waltz.
Susan, the star wife, was married to him in March 1967. He once said that memories are the key to a happy marriage.
The couple has three children and three grandchildren.