Spike Milligan's agent Norma Farnes dies at 82 | 'The end of an era'

Spike Milligan's agent Norma Farnes dies at 82

'The end of an era'

Legendary comedy agent Norma Farnes has died at the age of 82.

She is most remembered for working with the mercurial talent of Spike Milligan, dealing with his fragile ego, despair and manic depression.

Once, in 1972, for example,  Milligan called her at home to demand she return to the office. When she arrives he  produced loaded pistol and, ‘crying silently’, begged her to shoot him.

She was initially his secretary, but became his agent and manager after negotiating a deal for him to star in a BP ad ‘as there was no one else to do it’.

Before Farnes, Milligan had got through five secretaries in 18 months, but she remained with him for more than 35 years, from 1966 to his death in 2002.

She also represented Eric Sykes, and worked at the writers’ co-operative they set up Associated London Scripts, which also included Frankie Howerd, and Hancock and Steptoe scriptwriters Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

Farnes wrote a couple  of books about Milligan: Spike: An Intimate Memoir in 2003, and  Memories of Milligan in 2011. She also edited his papers for release as Box 18: The Unpublished Spike Milligan in 2006.

Milligan’s daughter Jane led the tributes on Twitter, posting: ‘Sad to hear that Norma Farnes has died, Friday 8th Feb, after a short illness, she started working for Dad the week I was born… She l  adored my Dad and I’m very grateful to her for her years of loyal service to Spike and his legacy. RIP dear Norma. 

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