Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Puppeteer Eugene Lambert dies at 81

The puppeteer counted Michael Jackson as a close friend

Puppeteer Eugene Lambert has died suddenly at the age of 81.

The Sligo-born performer and star of TV show Wanderly Wagon passed away at his home in Monkstown, Co Dublin, on Monday night.

An early passion for puppets and ventriloquism became a lifelong career for Mr Lambert, who counted the late pop superstar Michael Jackson among his many fans.

The father-of-10, who was due to celebrate his 60th wedding anniversary with wife Mai this summer, opened his own Lambert Puppet Theatre in 1972 and was also a driving force behind the International Puppet Festival of Ireland.

Jackson befriended the veteran puppeteer after playing a concert in Dublin in 1992 and visited him again with his three children on his birthday in August 2007.

Emily Tully said her grandfather, who sang Happy Birthday through one of his puppets to Jackson, was a big fan of the pop star.

"If he meets Michael Jackson up there he'll tell him 'I was a big supporter of you', he was so proud of that visit," she said.

Arts Minister Martin Cullen said Mr Lambert would be sadly missed.

"Eugene Lambert was a master of the art of puppetry and his place in Irish theatre is unparalleled, both in the quality and uniqueness of his work as a puppeteer and ventriloquist and for the longevity of his contribution," he said.

Ms Tully said his death had come as a huge shock to his wife and eight remaining children.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz