Comedy legend Sir Ken Dodd dies
Comedy legend Sir Ken Dodd has died aged 90, just two days after getting married.
The much-loved star, famous for his epic stand-up shows, his tickling sticks and Diddy Men, died yesterday in the home he was born in located in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash.
His wife was at his bedside.
The Liverpool comedian left hospital on 27 February at the end of a six-week stay for a chest infection.
He wed Anne Jones, his partner of 40 years, on Friday and an announcement was due to go out later this week about the marriage.
His publicist Robert Holmes said: “To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats. There is no-one else that comes close.
“He passed away in the home that he was born in over 90 years ago. He’s never lived anywhere else. It’s absolutely amazing.
“With Ken gone, the lights have been turned out in the world of variety.
“He was a comedy legend and a genius.”
Mr Holmes said of his marriage: “He asked Anne if she wanted to marry. They got the registrar and were married in the house on Friday.
“He died two days later on Mother’s Day. Anne is obviously very upset. They had been together for 40 years.
“It’s a love story to beat them all.”
Sir Ken, known for his unruly hair and teeth, performed his very last show just months ago at The Auditorium in the Liverpool Echo Arena in his native city on 28 December.
But all 2018 dates had to be cancelled due to his illness and subsequent hospital stay.
Mr Holmes said: “He’s not been well this year. Anne was in the process of cancelling all of his dates because when Ken goes on stage he’s up there for about four hours.”
He added: “It’s been my privilege to have looked after him for 47 years. I’m privileged to have been there for him and he for me.
“This time last year I was by his side when he got his knighthood and he was so very proud then.
“I shall really miss him.”
Brandishing a tickling stick and greeted by his Diddy Men, the star had vowed to carry on with his tattyfilarious comedy when he left hospital last month.
“I’m going to teach my legs how to work again, they’ve forgotten you know, and once I’ve recovered myself I’ll get back to doing the job, which is the only job I’ve ever had,” he said at the time.
“While I was in here, I wrote some new jokes, so it should be all right.”
Over 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.
His TV shows included The Ken Dodd Show, Beyond Our Ken and Ken Dodd’s Laughter Show, and he entered the big time in 1965 with the longest-ever run at the London Palladium – 42 weeks.
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.
Also a well-known singer, in 1964 the star released his first single, Happiness, followed by smash hit Tears in 1965, and then Promises.
The veteran comic was knighted in honour of his decades-long showbiz career and charity work in March last year.
He was acquitted following a five-week trial, accused of tax fraud, in 1989 and would later joke about the case, which had transformed Liverpool Crown Court into a sell-out theatre, with fellow comics Eric Sykes and Roy Hudd called as character witnesses.
His first fiancee, Anita Boutin, died of a brain tumour in 1977 aged 45 after 24 years together.