Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Tributes to 'comic genius' Wisdom

Tributes have poured in for Sir Norman Wisdom

Sir Norman Wisdom has been described as "a comic genius" as tributes poured out for the late actor.

Former TV executive Michael Grade made the remark about his old friend, while the Albanian prime minister spoke warmly of how the late actor helped brighten the lives of his countrymen - who saw him as a superstar - through their darkest days.

Sir Norman died peacefully in his sleep on Monday at the age of 95 at the Abbotswood Nursing Home on the Isle of Man. He had suffered a series of strokes in the last six months.

Mr Grade - who was a child when he first met Sir Norman through his family's showbusiness connections and later worked for his agent Billy Marsh - said: "He was a superstar."

"He was the second Chaplin. Norman was a comic genius."

Sir Norman enjoyed an unlikely stardom in Albania with films such as A Stitch In Time and Trouble In Store becoming the only Western movies to be screened under the communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha.

Albanian prime minister Sali Berisha said his country shared in the mourning for Sir Norman.

In a message of condolence sent to the comic's family, he said: "I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of one of the greatest actors of world comedy, a particularly favourite actor of the Albanian audience and one of the dearest friends of our nation, Sir Norman Wisdom."

He said the memory of his "exceptional talent" would live on in the memory of his fans, adding: "Today the Albanians share in the mourning together with the Wisdom family, the friends and fans of their most beloved entertainer."

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