Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Ventriloquist Keith Harris dies

Published 28/04/2015

Ventriloquist Keith Harris, famous for his act with his puppet duck Orville, has died aged 67 (Robert C Kelly/PA)
Ventriloquist Keith Harris, famous for his act with his puppet duck Orville, has died aged 67 (Robert C Kelly/PA)
Ventriloquist Keith Harris, who has died aged 67, with his puppet Orville

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

Robert C Kelly said Harris, whom he described as a " thoroughly decent man", was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and became ill again in January.

He 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."

Mr Kelly said Harris, who died in hospital in Blackpool, spent his last months "at hi s second home in Portugal, taking walks along the Blackpool seafront and sitting in the park eating ice cream and watching the world go by".

Harris, who married four times, had three children.

He entertained generations of children with his sidekick Orville, a bright green duck who wore a nappy, and a monkey called Cuddles.

At the height of his fame, he was a regular on Saturday night television and put on private performances at birthday parties for Prince William and his brother Harry.

His 1982 single with Orville, I Wish I Could Fly, was a top five hit and sold more than 400,000 copies.

Among those paying tribute were singer and broadcaster Aled Jones, who said: "Sad to hear of the death of Keith Harris - sending best wishes to his family and friends."

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid ‏said: " Very sad to hear that Keith Harris has died after a battle with cancer. Brought joy to my childhood."

Your Comments

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

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph