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Max Bygraves dies at 89

'King Of The London Palladium'

Veteran comic entertainer Max Bygraves has died in Australia, aged 89.

He died in his sleep at home in Hope Island, Queensland, where he emigrated in 2005. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

His agent Johnny Mans said: 'We have lost one of the best entertainers that Britain has ever produce. His death is a great loss to the entertainment profession and a great loss to all of his friends in the industry.'

He was born Walter Bygraves in Rotherhithe, London, in 1922 and gained the nickname Max from his impersonations ofMax Miller while serving in the RAF.

After demob, Bygraves rose to fame as a variety entertainer,working with Spike Milligan, Benny Hill, Harry Secombe and Frankie Howerd.

He swelled his forutne after buying the rights to the musival Oliver! from its creator Lionel Bart, when it was still unknown.

Jimmy Tarbuck called Bygraves 'the King of the [London] Palladium, adding: ' He ruled it when he was on there, it was a joy to watch him win an audience and he would have them roaring with laughter, he would have them singing along, he could have them with a tear in their eye if he did a sentimental song, just a great, great all round entertainer.'

Famous for his catchphrase '"I wanna tell you a story', Bygraves was awarded the OBE in 1983.

Posted: 1 Sep 2012

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