Lionel Blair: Showbiz Legend Dies At the Age of 92

Veteran of the show Lionel Blair died at the age of 92.

During his seven-decade career, he worked on television as an actor, tap dancer, performer and choreographer.

Blair died in the early hours of Thursday morning, his agent said.

In recent years, he has made appearances in shows including Celebrity Big Brother and The Real Marigold Hotel.

He married Susan Blair in 1967 and a couple share three children. Tributes were immediate.

Comedian Julian Clary encrypted: “RIP dear Lionel Blair. A show business troupe if ever existed.”

Broadcaster Danny Baker tweeted: “A true friend, an incomparable entertainer, an archive of a golden age, immeasurable talent.

“It’s impossible to think he won’t be in some Green Room somewhere, dropping names and coming up with fantasy stories. Giant. Really. ”

Author Emma Kennedy tweeted: “I’m so glad I met Lionel Blair. He was a Phenomenon. Full of magical, fruity, endings with gummy anecdotes. What a career. What a talent. #RIPLionel.”

Piers Morgan tweeted: “RIP Lionel Blair, 92. Wonderful all-round entertainer & lovely man. Sad news. ”

The experienced performer was from the old school of variety shows and was capable of turning his hand to almost anything – including choreography, dancing, acting and performing.

He enjoyed a long and successful career on stage and screen and was best known as a bandleader on a charade-style television show Give Us A Clue.

Christopher Biggins, a TV star and friend, said he met Blair in Give Us a Clue, which Blair did against Una Stubbs, who also died this year.

“He’s up there now having fun with Una, I’m sure,” he said.

Biggins said Blair was “very competitive” and “loved to win,” adding, “He was just an amazing, amazing entertainer who will be sadly missed.”

Blair has always remained timid over his true age and famously once said, “I’m 59 plus VAT.”

The performer was born Henry Lionel Ogus in Canada in 1928 before moving to Britain at the age of two.

He grew up in Stamford Hill, north London, and was evacuated to Oxford when war broke out, with his sister Joyce and mother Deborah.

His family was Jewish but not Orthodox and their habit of eating bacon was thwarted by their neighbors.

Blair cited Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Shirley Temple as figures who inspired him to pursue a life in show business.

He began performing in plays as a child and attended the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford in 1944 before joining a touring company called the Savoy Players.

After a stint on stage in the West End, he decided to switch acting to dancing and took the stage name Lionel Blair.

His stage credits included Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, and had roles in Lady Be Good, Mr Cinders and Pageant.

His career saw him engage in dance against Sammy Davis Jr. at the Royal Variety Performance in 1961, appearing in the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night and choreographing big-screen performances such as The Magic Christian.

On television he choreographed and appeared in 1970s programs such as The Mike And Bernie Show, The Tommy Cooper Hour and the Jimmy Tarbuck Show.

He pivoted to judging with New Faces in the late ’70s, a talent show predecessor to series such as Pop Idol and X Factor.

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