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Max Bygraves in 1992 Neil Munns/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Comedian and former Family Fortunes host Max Bygraves dead at 89

The popular British variety performer died peacefully in his sleep at his home in eastern Australia, according to his agent.

VETERAN BRITISH ENTERTAINER Max Bygraves has died in Australia aged 89, his agent said today.

The singer and comedian died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Hope Island in Queensland, eastern Australia, his agent Johnny Mans said.

“His death is a great loss to the entertainment profession and a great loss to all of his friends in the industry,” said Mans, adding that Bygraves had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago.

Bygraves started as a pub singer in his teens and went on to become a popular variety performer — appearing in films and stage shows, and hosting the TV gameshow Family Fortunes during a long-running career.

Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck, a close friend of Bygraves, described him as “one of the greats of British entertainment”.

“He had the audience in the palm of his hand quicker than any other comedian I have seen,” Tarbuck told BBC television.

“They loved him, and you don’t get that love very often.”

- (c) AFP, 2012

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