Lionel Blair, the UK TV star whose career spanned eight decades, has died aged 92, his agent has said.
Blair died peacefully early yesterday morning. No cause of death has been revealed.
Tributes have poured in from the likes of UK stars Stephen Graham and Eddie Marsan for the entertainer, who made his name as team captain on ITV gameshow Give Us A Clue and in later years appeared in Ricky Gervais’ Extras.
“RIP you absolute showbiz god,” said Christmas Carol star Graham on Twitter.
Born in Canada in 1928, Henry Lionel Ogus moved to the UK as a young boy and started acting when he was just 14, immediately becoming a standout dancer.
He took part in a comedic dance-off against Sammy Davis Jr at the Royal Variety Performance in 1961 and played the role of a choreographer in Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night.
Blair became a household UK name in the early 1980s when he was recruited to be team captain on ITV gameshow Give Us A Clue, for which he made more than 1000 episodes opposite Una Stubbs. He appeared on various other gameshows and TV formats throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2007, he was lauded for his role in Ricky Gervais’ Extras Christmas special as one of the housemates in a fictional version of Celebrity Big Brother, and he went on to appear in other formats such as the real Celebrity Big Brother and BBC1’s Real Marigold Hotel.
Blair is survived by his wife Susan Blair, three children and three grandchildren.