Tom O’Connor, the slapstick comedian and host of tv quizshows together with Identify That Tune and Crosswits, has died on the age of 81.
O’Connor was recognized with Parkinson’s illness 14 years in the past, his daughter-in-law, the previous Olympic athlete Denise Lewis, mentioned. He died in hospital on Sunday.
He was born in Bootle and was at all times seen as a proud son of Liverpool. The town council tweeted its respects: “Unhappy information breaking concerning the demise of veteran Liverpool comic Tom O’Connor. Our ideas are together with his household and pals. Thanks for the laughs, Tom.”
Earlier than his showbiz profession, O’Connor taught maths and music and as soon as mentioned the one approach he might get by way of to his pupils was by telling jokes: “It labored a deal with … and that’s actually how the comedy all began.”
He taught by day and carried out stand-up in golf equipment at evening, getting his early tv break on the expertise present Alternative Knocks, which he received three weeks working. Quickly got here The Comedians, a Nineteen Seventies ITV present that made stars of comics together with Frank Carson, Stan Boardman and Jim Bowen.
O’Connor had a mild, inoffensive humour and a relatable act. His easygoing method made him the right quizshow host, starting with the massively common Identify That Tune, the place contestants might win £1,200 money, a automotive and even “an excellent four-band radio together with double cassette stereo tape recorder to offer you hours of higher music enjoyment”.
Later, there was the cosy crossword-themed Crosswits, made by ITV Tyne Tees, which O’Connor offered for a decade till 1998. “And keep in mind, if there’s ever a cross phrase in your home, ensure that it’s written and never spoken, only for me, all proper,” he would inform audiences.
The BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker revealed he was a Crosswits fan, tweeting: “How unhappy. I had the pleasure of assembly Tom O’Connor and he was form, humorous and a real gent. I liked watching him on telly – Crosswits was nice. My sympathies are together with his household and pals.”
Different exhibits included I’ve Bought a Secret, The Zodiac Present, Gambit and the snooker-based Decide Pockets.
O’Connor turned a daily in dictionary nook on Countdown and had occasional work as an actor, enjoying a Catholic priest, Father Tom, on the daytime cleaning soap Docs. In newer years, he was a winner of Superstar Come Dine With Me and Pointless Celebrities with Lewis.