Beloved entertainer loses battle

British comedian, singer and variety performer Max Bygraves has died, aged 89.
British comedian, singer and variety performer Max Bygraves has died, aged 89. Tony Harris

BRITISH entertainer Max Bygraves passed away at his daughter's home on the Gold Coast this weekend following a two-year battle with Alzheimer's.

Mr Bygraves moved to the Tweed in the 1990s when he bought a property known as Attunga Park on the outskirts of Murwillumbah.

The popular singer, comedian, quiz show host, actor, variety performer and one of the highest paid British entertainers of his time was 89 when he died with his daughter by his side at her home at Hope Island.

Mr Bygraves leaves behind daughters Christine and Maxine and son Anthony from his marriage with Gladys, who was known as Blossom and passed away last year.

He is also survived by his children John Rice, Beverly Mayhew-Sass and Stephen Rose who he fathered out of wedlock.

Mr Bygraves' son Anthony commented "I only say dad two weeks ago. He became terribly frail but somehow I hoped he would see his 90th birthday.

"It is hard to imagine a world without him but at least I got a chance to see him, give him a hug and be with him."

Mr Bygraves became one of Britain's most loved entertainers in the 1950's when he started touring the club circuit.

He became a hit in the 50's radio comedy 'Educating Archie' and starred in such movies as Charley Moon, A Cry from the Streets and Spare the Rod.

Although he was married to wife Blossom for nearly 69 years, Mr Bygraves lost his family-friendly image in 1987 when he admitted fathering a son outside his marriage.

Similar revelations followed and in 2002 it emerged Mr Bygraves had in fact fathered three extra-marital children.

For several years, Mr Bygraves hosted the popular British television show Family Fortunes and when English entertainer Les Dennis replaced him in 1987, Mr Dennis called him "a great performer and a gentleman".

When he received an OBE in 1983 he described himself as "just an ordinary cockney bloke who made it".

Fellow comedian Ronnie Corbett said Mr Bygraves was a "lovely, lovely man".

"He was an early stand-up, he didn't go in for sketches but just spoke to the audience.

"He was a personality in the truest sense of the word."

Topics:  alzheimer's

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