Leeds born entertainer Barry Cryer has died, aged 86
Within minutes of the news being announced tributes have started pouring in for the entertainer whose career has lasted for decades.
Stephen Fry wrote on Twiter: "Such sad news, one of the absolute greats of British comedy, Barry Cryer, is no more. A glorious, gorgeous, hilarious and gifted writer and performer who straddled all the comic traditions. Universally beloved … farewell, Baz."]
Gyles Brandreth also said: "Baz was just the loveliest guy: funny & generous. He’d worked with everybody & everybody he worked with liked him. I shall miss his happy company so much - & his regular phone calls: he gave you a gem of a joke with each one."
Cryer was educated at Leeds Grammar School and then went on to study English Literature at the University of Leeds. He left at the end of his first year, having being inspired by a week's work at the Leeds City Varieties theatre.
He went to London and began as the bottom billing act at the Windmill Theatre, which showed comedy acts in between nude shows.
Cryer went on to work on numerous Frost shows across BBC and ITV for years, including Frost Over England and Frost On Sunday.
His early TV appearances were bolstered by a string of panel shows, with Cryer’s comic timing being witnessed on That’s Showbusiness, Blankety Blank, and What’s My Line.
This was while penning material for the most recognisable names in British comedy such as Jasper Carrot, Frankie Howerd, Tommy Cooper and Sir Bruce Forsyth.
Cryer said in 1998: “I haven’t had a career, just a series of incidents.
“I’ve been dogged by good luck all my life.”
In 2001 he was awarded an OBE and in 2017, Cryer received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Leeds.
We are incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of our dear friend, Barry Cryer.
This afternoon, Leeds City Varieties said: "From the very start of his career and his "first paid job" on our stage in 1956, to becoming a 'The Good Old Days' favourite. Barry has been a familiar and friendly face, continuing to tread the boards here throughout his career.
"is support for the venue over the years included hosting our Regeneration fundraising launch event in 2009 with Paul Merton. For our 150th birthday in 2015, he wrote this beautiful and treasured 'Ode to The City Varieties' poem.
"We will miss you Barry. Thank you for the laughter."
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