My Celebrity Life

Des O’Connor’s hysterical banter with Eric Morecambe remembered as entertainer dies aged 88

Des was the butt of Eric’s jokes (Picture: PA Archive/PA Wire)

In the wake of the death of Des O’Connor, fans are remembering the banter between the entertainer and Eric Morecambe.

O’Connor was a frequent guest on The Morecambe and Wise Show, including many of its Christmas specials, and was often the butt of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise’s jokes.

Earlier this year, a Times Diary segment reminded fans of the jokes made at O’Connor’s expense by recalling a hilarious anecdote from the late 1960s.

The piece, which is recirculating on social media: ‘It was heartening to see  that political point-scoring was largely suspended when Boris Johnson went into hospital. It reminded me of the story about when Eric Morecambe had a heart attack in 1968.’

O’Connor spoke about the incident himself in an interview with the Daily Mail in 2014, saying: ‘When Eric had his first heart attack in 1968, I was doing a show in front of 2,000. I went for a sip of water and the stage manager said, “Eric Morecambe’s had a heart attack. He’s dying.”

‘I went back on and, at the end of the show, I said, “If you believe in such things, please remember Eric in your prayers. He’s not well.”

‘Happily he recovered and six weeks later he was in a meeting with some journalists. One of them said, “Are you aware Des O’Connor asked his entire audience to pray for you?” Eric said, “Well, those six or seven people probably made a difference.”’

On The Morecambe and Wise Show, many jibes were made about O’Connor and his musical talents, with famous jokes including ‘The Des in Des O’Connor is short for desperate’ and, ‘Des has just done a one-man show. Let’s hope two turn up next time’.

While many stars would have taken offence to so many digs being made about their singing abilities, it turns out O’Connor egged on his friends in the mockery.

He previously said: ‘Quite a lot of his insults I wrote myself.

The trio were close friends (Picture: Nils Jorgensen/REX)

‘Things like, “Des O’Connor’s a self-made man. Well, it’s nice of him to take the blame.”’

Morecambe died aged 58 in 1984, after he suffered his third heart attack following a performance at Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury; Wise died in 1999 aged 73, after suffering a chest infection and heart failure.

O’Connor’s agent confirmed that the beloved TV star died on Saturday at the age of 88, after suffering a fall at his Buckinghamshire home last week.

A statement from Pat Lake-Smith read: ‘He was a joy to work with – he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional.

‘He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family – they were everything to him.

‘He is survived by his wife Jodie, their son Adam and his four daughters Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina.

‘Jodie’s world is shattered, she and Adam and Des’s daughters are hurtng more than you could possibly imagine.’

O’Connor presented his own prime-time TV shows for over 45 years.

He first fronted his own show in 1963, while the success of his singing career saw him sell 16 million records and spend 117 weeks in the top 10 of the charts.

Des hosted many shows including Take Your Pick (Picture: Fremantle Media/REX)

The four-times married star appeared on stage around the world, including hundreds of shows at the London Palladium.

He had his own US TV programme and his chat show Des O’Connor Tonight was a British television staple for a quarter of a century.

He also hosted Channel 4 quiz show Countdown with Carol Vorderman, with the pair bowing out together in 2008.

Stars including Melanie Sykes and Carol Vorderman have paid tribute to O’Connor, with Sykes saying it was an ‘education and a privilege to work with him’.

Credit: Original article published here.

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