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Keith Harris dies: Orville the duck ventriloquist has died following cancer battle

Published 28/04/2015

Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
Ventriloquist Keith Harris and his puppet Orville feeding a goose in St James's Park, London, as Keith Harris, famous for his act with his puppet duck Orville, died today aged 67, his agent said.

Keith Harris, the ventriloquist famous for his act with his puppet duck Orville, died today aged 67, his agent said.

He passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital after being diagnosed with cancer aged 67 years old.

The news was confirmed by his agent, Robert C Kelly, on Tuesday morning.

“Sad to announce death from Cancer of my client, dear friend and great talent, Keith Harris,” Kelly said.

"I spoke to Keith most days, whether we had business to do or not. I think I laughed every single time we spoke.

"Keith was not only a technically great ventriloquist, he was also a gifted mimic and an extraordinarily funny man both on stage and off.

"Perhaps even rarer than that in showbiz, he was a thoroughly decent man, a great friend and a wonderful father and husband."

Harris helmed The Keith Harris Show in the Eighties, which had the coveted prime-time Saturday night slot on BBC One.

He also enjoyed a No.4 hit with "Orville's Song" in 1982.

Harris is survived by his fourth wife Sarah and their two children. He also has a daughter, 27, from a previous marriage.

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