Club comedian Oates dies does comic actor Stevens

Veteran comedy actor Ronnie Stevens and clubland comic Chubby Oates have both died in the past few days.

Cockney comedian Oates, who was 64, was taken ill on Thursday night, hours after performing at a showbusiness lunch alongside Roy Hudd and June Whitfield. He died the following morning in Deal Hospital, Kent.

Hudd told actors’ newspaper The Stage, which reported his death: ‘Chubby was my favourite cockney comedian. He was absolutely priceless.’

A stalwart of summer shows and pantomimes, where he was acclaimed as a dame, Oates made guest appearances in TV shows, including Doctor Who, Dixon of Dock Green and Channel 4’s 2005 reality series Wakey Wakey Campers!

He previously held the record for keeping a straight face - two hours and 23 minutes - despite provocation from members of the public. But he lost his title in 1998, after 12 years, to stand-up Kevin McCarthy.

Meanwhile, Stevens died in Denville Hall, the actor’s retirement home in Northwood, Middlesex, on Saturday at the age of 81.

He began his career in West End revues during the Fifties and his film credits include I’m Alright Jack with Peter Sellers in 1958, Carry On Cruising in 1962 and the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap.

And he made appearances in the likes of Hi Di Hi, The Goodies, Yes, Prime Minister and Ever Decreasing Circles.

Published: 14 Nov 2006

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