Paul O'Grady, English comedian and television star, dies aged 67

Tributes paid to presenter and former game show host, who died 'unexpectedly but peacefully'

Comedian Paul O'Grady hosted a string of popular TV and radio shows in the UK. PA News
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Television presenter and comedian Paul O'Grady has died aged 67.

The TV star, also known for his alter ego Lily Savage, died "unexpectedly but peacefully" on Tuesday evening, his family said.

O'Grady's husband Andre Portasio added in his statement: "It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.

"We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.

"He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.

"I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years."

During his career, he hosted The Paul O'Grady Show, Blind Date and Blankety Blank, as well as ITV's National Television Awards winner For The Love Of Dogs.

He also hosted ITV celebrity game show, Paul O'Grady's Saturday Night Line Up.

O'Grady took over the reins from Blind Date's long-running presenter and his close friend Cilla Black, who died in 2015, as he hosted the Channel 5 reboot of the show in 2017.

Last year, he was joined by Queen Consort Camilla in a special one-off episode of For The Love Of Dogs to mark 160 years of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, an organisation for which he was an ambassador.

O'Grady's love for animals was well-known, and he had lived in a farmhouse in Kent with Portasio along with a menagerie of animals including four dogs, goats, sheep, chickens and barn owls.

During the coronavirus lockdown, he wrote his debut children's book, Eddie Albert And The Amazing Animal Gang, which was published in September 2021.

In August, he presented his final BBC Radio 2 show having hosted the Sunday afternoon programme for nearly 14 years.

ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly described O'Grady as "a really special man" in an online tribute.

"Such sad news. Paul O'Grady — funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise. Will be sorely missed. A really special man."

Replying to another Twitter user, she said: "I always think dogs are the best judge of character and they adored him."

His self-titled teatime programme, The Paul O'Grady Show, aired on ITV from 2004 to 2005, later moving to Channel 4 as The New Paul O'Grady Show.

Throughout his career, O'Grady won accolades including a TV Bafta, a British Comedy Award and a National Television Award for The Paul O'Grady Show.

He was made an MBE in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to entertainment.

He attended the ceremony with his daughter Sharyn Mousley.

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Updated: March 29, 2023, 4:47 AM