Albania's Prime Minister SALI BERISHA has paid tribute to the country's comedy hero NORMAN WISDOM, who died on Monday (04Oct10).
The slapstick star, who was a national treasure in his native Britain, was an unlikely beloved figure in the former Communist country - and his films were the only Western ones shown on Albanian television during dictator Enver Hoxha 40-year rule, which ended in the mid-1980s.
Prime Minister Berisha was a big fan and, in a statement on Tuesday (05Oct10), he revealed he was "deeply saddened" by the death of the nation's "most beloved entertainer".
Wisdom's agent Johnny Mans tells the Associated Press the comic was always fond of Albania - a nation he visited twice following the fall of Communism.
Mans says, "We didn't realise the type of reaction he would get when he got out there. It was just like the Beatlemania of the 60s. They just wanted to kiss him and touch him. Even people up in the mountains, shepherds and such, knew who he was. It was an amazing experience to visit Albania with Norman and I will never forget it."
The former president was believed by some to have been suffering from dementia during his second term in office from 1984 to 1988.
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