Entertainer Lionel Blair has been hailed a “showbiz trooper” following his death at the age of 92.
The TV star, known for his glittering career spanning 70 years, died in the early hours on Thursday morning.
Blair appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2014 and the BBC reality series The Real Marigold Hotel in 2017, but was best known as a team captain on Give Us A Clue.
Actress Bonnie Langford tweeted a picture of herself dancing with Blair, adding: “Dear Lionel. Privileged to have been your dance partner.”
Julian Clary tweeted: “RIP dear Lionel Blair. A showbiz trooper if ever there was.”
Singer Michael Ball tweeted: “A funny, kind, generous, compassionate and gifted man.
“So sad for his family and for our business. A total one off. RIP lovely man.”#
Christopher Biggins, TV star and friend of Blair, said they often spoke on the phone and Blair had called him two weeks ago but he was out at the time.
He told BBC News: “He was just the most wonderful, kind, funny, real giver of life. His energy was extraordinary.”
Biggins said he got to know Blair on Give Us A Clue, which Blair starred in opposite Una Stubbs – who also died this year.
“He’s up there now entertaining with Una, I’m sure,” he said.
Biggins said Blair was “very competitive” and “loved to win”, adding: “He was just marvellous, a wonderful entertainer who will be sadly missed.”
Biggins told the BBC: “He could sing, he could dance, he was just like Bruce Forsyth.”
He said Blair had a “great sense of humour” and is a “tribute to his wonderful family”, describing him as the “king of the pantomime” and a man who was “adored” by the public.
Biggins said the news of Blair’s death has come as bit of a surprise, adding that he was “looked after beautifully” his wife and children.
Broadcaster Danny Baker tweeted: “A true chum, an entertainer beyond compare, an archive of a golden era, an immeasurable talent.
“Impossible to think he won’t be in some Green room somewhere, dropping names and living out fantastic tales. A Giant. Really.”
Piers Morgan tweeted: “RIP Lionel Blair, 92. A wonderful all-round entertainer & lovely man. Sad news.”
Author Emma Kennedy tweeted: “I am very glad I got to meet Lionel Blair. He was a Phenomenon. Full of magical, fruity, end with a wink anecdotes. What a career. What a talent. #RIPLionel”
Stand-up comedian Ed Byrne tweeted: “One of the highlights of my short lived Saturday morning radio show on BBC London (which I co hosted with my mother) was when we had Lionel Blair as a guest.
“Smoking fags and knocking back gin and tonics with us at 11am. We even got him to tap dance on a sheet of plywood. Legend,” he said.
Actor Antony Cotton has tweeted: “Good night, Lionel Blair. I was honoured to have met, and worked with him a couple of times. He was divine x”
Comedian and writer Gyles Brandreth tweeted a picture of himself with Lionel Blair, saying: “Lionel Blair – he was just the best: a powerhouse of positivity and a wonderful talent as a dancer, choreographer & entertainer.
“He told me stories of his time with Errol Flynn & Ernest Hemingway – he lived his long life to the full & leaves a legacy of style & smiles & laughter.”