'The Two Ronnies' star died "surrounded by his loving family", his publicist announced on Thursday morning.
Entertainer RONNIE CORBETT, famed for his BBC sketch shows ‘The Two Ronnies’ and ‘The Frost Report’, has died at the age of 85.
His publicist released a brief statement on Thursday morning (March 31st), informing the world of the sad passing of the comedy legend. “Ronnie Corbett CBE, one of the nation's best-loved entertainers, passed away this morning, surrounded by his loving family. They have asked that their privacy is respected at this very sad time.”
He is survived by his wife, Anne Hart, and the couple’s two daughters Emma and Sophie Corbett. The cause of death is not yet known.
Ronnie Corbett, 1930-2016
Corbett was the diminutive half of ‘The Two Ronnies’, the incredibly successful sketch show which ran from 1971 to 1987 on BBC One, along with his long-term comedy partner RONNIE BARKER who died in 2005. Famed for its clever wordplay and Corbett’s monologues, each show would invariably end with the catchphrase “It’s goodnight from me… and it’s goodnight from him.”
He made his initial breakthrough in the acclaimed satirical show ‘The Frost Report’ in 1966, which also introduced the world to Barker and John Cleese, the latter of whom hit it big with ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ soon afterwards. Corbett and Barker were spotted by TV executives at the BAFTAs, when a technical hitch meant that the two had to improvise unscripted for many minutes.
Corbett also starred in a number of other hit shows including ‘Sorry!’ and game show ‘Small Talk’, continuing to work into his 80s.
However, he had been plagued by ill health in recent years. In 2012, he collapsed at a dinner that was intended to celebrate his CBE, and in 2014 he was admitted to hospital with gallbladder problems, but recovered shortly afterwards.
Tributes have been pouring in from the world of TV and entertainment. David Walliams took to Twitter and wrote: “Goodbye my friend and comedy idol #RonnieCorbett Thank you for all the laughs. It was the greatest honour to know and work with you.”
‘Sherlock’ actor Mark Gatiss wrote: “Ronnie Corbett was the most generous, charming and lovely man. Hugely supportive in the early days of 'The League of Gentlemen'. The day after we won the Perrier, I saw him in the queue. It was like being blessed by all our childhood Saturday nights. RIP dear man.”
Ricky Gervais 'RIP the lovely, funny legend Ronnie Corbett. It was an absolute honour & joy to have known him.”