FOUR candles burned at the back of the altar as the biggest names in the entertainment world paid their respects to Ronnie Corbett.
Stars including Barry Cryer, Sir Michael Parkinson, Harry Hill, Jimmy Tarbuck, Rob Brydon and David Walliams were among the mourners at the funeral service near his home in south London.
The Edinburgh-born entertainer died last month aged 85, having been diagnosed with a suspected form of motor neurone disease. The candle display referenced one of Corbett’s most popular sketches as part of The Two Ronnies alongside Ronnie Barker. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Anne Hart, and his daughters Sophie and Emma, the latter of whom led tributes at the service. She said: “This is undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And yet it is also a huge privilege.
“My dad was truly loved. Yes, by the world – and as a family we have felt that with so many kind gestures and flowers and thoughts – but, however, today is not about Ronnie Corbett the national treasure, it’s about Ronnie Corbett the husband, the father, the grandfather and the friend.
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“He was loved and cherished and it is an enormous honour to be his daughter. His integrity, kindness, style and grace were ever present and never left him, even in death.”
After the ceremony, Sir Michael said the service “hit exactly the right note”, adding: “It was the least showbizzy funeral I’ve been to.”
He said: “He wasn’t a very showbiz person in that sense. He was unaffected by fame and recognition. It didn’t bother him.”
Sir Michael added: “What you saw is what you got. He was modest, self-effacing, he was a brilliant comic, very good actor too, very good comedy actor. And as a guy to be a friend of, he was just unbeatable.”
Barry Cryer, who first met Corbett 50 years ago, said: “I can’t think of him without smiling... I’m here and tipping my hat to him.”
Brydon, who also worked with Corbett, added: “People’s faces would light up when they saw him, he just brought happiness.”
• READ MORE: Ronnie Corbett dies at the age of 85
Tarbuck said: “He was much loved. Very correct guy, very funny fellow. Disciplinarian – I think that was because he was an officer in the RAF. But he was great company.
“I mean, he was a terrific laugh. Dreadful giggler. He used to get me at it when we worked together.”
Canon Arthur Quinn, a long-time friend of Corbett who conducted the service, said: “He coped with being instantly recognisable with courtesy and charm always.”
One notable absence from the funeral service was Sir Bruce Forsyth. The 88-year-old was understood to be recovering from surgery.
Corbett became a household favourite in the early 1970s alongside Ronnie Barker in their comedy show, The Two Ronnies, which ran until 1987. After Barker’s death in 2005, Corbett continued to appear on TV well into his eighties.
Born in Edinburgh on 4 December, 1930, Corbett was brought up in a tenement in the Marchmont area of the city. Latterly, he owned a house in Gullane, East Lothian. He was awarded a CBE in the 2012 New Year Honours.