And may your God go with you

Dave Allen dies at 68

Pioneering Irish comic Dave Allen has died at the age of 68.

His agent Vivienne Clore said he died in his sleep on Thursday night at his home in Kensington, west London.

She said: "It was very sudden. He was just a lovely, lovely man. He was absolutely the same in real life as he was on the television. You always felt that he had made a special effort to know everything about you."

Further tributes have already started pouring in to the sit-down stand-up, whose observational style helped pave the way for future generations

The BBC's head of comedy Jon Plowman called Allen a "wonderful comedian said: "He was a groundbreaker in many ways particularly in the jokes and sketches that had a go at religion - something that certainly came from his growing up in Ireland - was sometimes quite tough for its day."

Comic Roy Walker said of Allen: "He was the greatest comedian since the war. He was better than Jackie Mason and Bob Hope and all those guys.

"He had a tremendous warmth and he was one of the few who could cross over from joke-teller to modern-day comedian."

Allen, a former Butlins redcoat got his first break on the BBC talent show New Faces in 1959, and become well-known through guest spots on the Val Doonican Show.

It led to various of his own series on the BBC and ITV, running from 1967 to 1993,  featuring his trademark stool and glass of whiskey, although his strong language often caused controversy.

His use of a four-letter word in January 1990 was raised in the House of Commons.

Smoking was a trademark part of his  routine, but Allen quit his 60-a-day habit in the Eighties, explaining: "I was fed up with paying people to kill me."

Allen retired from performing in 1999, but still received offers and was reportedly considering a project at the time of his death.

He once said that he wanted his gravestone to read: "Don't mourn for me now, don't mourn for me never - I'm going to do nothing for ever and ever."

He leaves a wife, Karin, and three children.


Published: 11 Mar 2005

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