TV host and comedian Paul O’Grady passed away at age 67.
Paul O’Grady, a comedian and presenter, passed away at the age of 67.
His lover, Andre Portasio, announced in a statement that he died away on Tuesday night “unexpectedly but calmly.”
O’Grady gained notoriety in the 1990s as the legendary Lily Savage, a scouse drag queen, and went on to host the game show Blankety Blank and other light entertainment shows.
Later in his career, he hosted a number of discussion shows and expressed his love of dogs on television.
Paul went away unexpectedly but painlessly yesterday evening, Mr. Portasio said. “It is with great grief that I notify you of this,” he added.
His family, friends, pets, and all those who appreciated his wit, humor, and compassion will miss him dearly.
He certainly would want me to express my gratitude for all the affection you have shown him throughout the years, I’m sure. As Miss Hannigan in the musical Annie, he had recently finished a tour.
On his return from a performance in Newcastle, O’Grady expressed his enjoyment of reprising the part on Instagram. He added that having such a talented and lovely ensemble helped make it even more enjoyable.
The presenter had also just departed BBC Radio 2 after 14 years, confirming rumors that it was because he didn’t like having his Sunday afternoon slot shared.
For Easter Sunday, he was scheduled to appear on Boom Radio in less than two weeks.
O’Grady made one of his most recent appearances last year alongside Camilla, Queen Consort, for a special episode of ITV’s For The Love of Dogs, a show he helped create in 2012 and which followed the workers of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, an organization for which he served as an ambassador.
O’Grady’s mother, whose maiden name was Savage, is thought to have served as the inspiration for his well-known drag act. O’Grady was born in Birkenhead, on the Wirral, in Merseyside, in 1955. In the 1970s, he started making appearances as Lily Savage. The drag queen later built a reputation for herself by speaking out about LGBT problems during a solo performance that ran for eight years at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Afterwards, he presented the BBC chat show The Lily Savage Show for a brief period in 1997 before switching to host a revived edition of the game show Blankety Blank, which ran until 2002.
From 2004 to 2005, he served as anchor of the teatime show The Paul O’Grady Show on ITV before transferring with it to Channel 4.
During a 2017 Channel 5 revival of the program, he also took up hosting duties for Blind Date from close friend Cilla Black.
O’Grady earned a TV Bafta, a British Comedy Award, and a National Television Award for The Paul O’Grady Show during the course of his career.
He received an MBE in 2008 for his contributions to entertainment as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
O’Grady, who resided in Aldington, a town close to Ashford, was chosen in November to serve as one of Kent’s deputy lieutenants. At local occasions, the post is in charge of representing the Monarch.