Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Tributes to 'monumental' Eric Sykes

Tributes have been paid to Eric Sykes, who has died aged 89

Tributes have been paid to "a monumental man of comedy" Eric Sykes following his death at the age of 89.

The star, best remembered for acting in and writing long-running TV sitcom Sykes And A... with Hattie Jacques, died on Wednesday morning after a short illness.

His manager Norma Farnes said that the star of TV, stage and films "died peacefully" and that "his family were with him".

Sykes wrote scripts for comedians such as Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Tony Hancock and penned material for The Goon Show.

His film credits included Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (2005), The Others (2001) and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965).

The star, who was also a novelist, director and producer, began his career writing for hit BBC radio shows before moving into TV. Sykes continued working on screen and on the West End stage into his 80s, despite his failing vision and hearing.

Comedian Ken Dodd said that Sykes was "a joy to be with, a wonderful man to know... a genius at creating comedy".

Sir Bruce Forsyth called the "gentle" Oldham-born star "one of the greats of comedy in this country. He was universally loved here... He was just one of the funniest men ever in comedy".

Actor Bernard Cribbins, who starred in two of Sykes's comedy shorts, The Plank (1979) and It's Your Move (1969), also paid tribute.

"He will be very sadly missed," he said. "I just wish him a lot of rest up there with all the other comics, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. They will all be up there, having a laugh together."

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