Writer and comedian Barry Cryer dies aged 86

Entertainment

Writer and comedian Barry Cryer has died at the age of 86.

Born in Leeds in 1935, he started out as a variety performer before going on to write for and with some of the biggest names in British comedy, including Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Sir Billy Connelly and Tommy Cooper.

He received an OBE in 2001 and in 2018 was given a lifetime achievement award for his comedy career by the British Music Hall Society.

Stephen Fry, Gyles Brandreth and David Baddiel are among those who have paid tribute.

Fry said: “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.”

Doctor Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss said Cryer “was the real deal”.

“An incredibly funny man who worked with – and wrote for – the giants of comedy,” he wrote on Twitter. “Yet he remained forever curious and delighted by whatever was fresh and original. Kind, encouraging, generous and a one off. Goodbye, Cheeky.”

More from Ents & Arts

Ronnie Corbett (left) receives the TRIC Special Award, during the ceremony, with Barry Cryer at the 2005 TRIC (Television & Radio Industries Club) Awards at Grosvenor House in London's Park Lane Tuesday 8 March 2005. Watch for PA story. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA.
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Cryer (right) worked with comedy stars including the late Ronnie Corbett
Comedian Barry Cryer (right), television presenter Nicholas Parsons (centre) and comedian Jo Goodman (left) at the window of the site in Greek Street, Soho where Peter Cook's Establishment Club was today commemorated with the unveiling of a Westminster green plaque, in central London.
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Cryer (right) pictured with TV presenter Nicholas Parsons and comedian Jo Goodman

Writer Neil Gaiman tweeted: “I’m so so so sorry to hear this. I only worked with Barry Cryer once, on the @BBCRadio4 Anansi Boys – and he wasn’t in the broadcast version, as he was unwell.

“But being in the room and watching him act and tell jokes was an utter joy. #RIPBarry.”

During a seven-decade career, Cryer appeared on stage, screen and radio and penned jokes for countless household names.

He was known for his long-running partnership with the late Sir David Frost, with their collaborations including The Frost Report on the BBC, and was also a panellist on Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue for more than four decades.

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