Jimmy Tarbuck says meeting Sir Bruce Forsyth ‘changed my life’
A host of celebrities have paid tribute to the UK’s Mr Entertainment, who has died aged 89.
Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck has credited Sir Bruce Forsyth with “changing his life” as he paid tribute to the TV veteran following his death aged 89.
Tarbuck, 77, recalled his first meeting with Sir Bruce as he spoke of their friendship on BBC Breakfast.
He said: “He was always Mr Forsyth to me because he did help change my life. He was unique – he could play the piano with Nat King Cole, he could dance with Sammy Davis Jr, he could take over Have I Got News For You, and most importantly he could annoy Sean Connery on the golf course, which always tickled me.”
Sir Bruce’s family announced his death on Friday in a statement saying the TV veteran had “passed away this afternoon, peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Wilnelia and all his children”.
In the statement, his manager Ian Wilson continued: “A couple of weeks ago, a friend visited him and asked him what he had been doing these last 18 months.
“With a twinkle in his eye, he responded ‘I’ve been very, very busy… being ill!’ Unfortunately, not long after this, his health deteriorated and he contracted bronchial pneumonia.”
The family thanked everyone for their well wishes to Sir Bruce “over his long illness and know that they will share in part, the great, great loss they feel”.
Tarbuck and Sir Bruce first met on October 27 in 1963 when Tarbuck appeared on Sunday Night At The Palladium as a guest.
“He was unique, he was well-dressed, he was good fun, he was meticulous,” Tarbuck told BBC Breakfast, adding: “He looked after himself. He liked a drink – Bourbon, two fingers, no ice.”
He credited Sir Bruce with introducing him to golf and fuelling his love of the sport.
Oh Brucie. So sad.— Ola Jordan (@The_OlaJordan) August 18, 2017
Wonderful man and amazing entertainer.
It was such an honour having worked beside you. You will be missed.#RIP
RIP Sir Bruce Forsyth a lovely man and a great entertainer who we will all miss.thanks for years of great entertainment.— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) August 18, 2017
I grew up watching and loving #SirBruceForsyth on TV. Last of the true all-rounders and a true pro. Goodnight Bruce.— Jonathan Ross (@wossy) August 18, 2017
Very sad to hear the news about Sir Bruce Forsyth. Grew up watching and loving him. Privileged to have seen him work up close on Strictly ❤️— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) August 18, 2017
Recalling his last meeting with Sir Bruce, he said: “Well, it was at the house about two or three months back, I went over and Wilnelia, who was the love of his life, said ‘I’ve made some sandwiches, boys, and a large pot of tea. Go and reminisce.’ And for an hour and a bit we just talked and we just laughed about things that had happened.”
Tarbuck competed in Strictly Come Dancing in 2006 but had to withdraw from the competition for health reasons. The star said he was “absolutely devastated” to leave the show following a doctor’s assessment.
Sir Bruce leaves behind six children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as his third wife, former Miss World, Lady Wilnelia Merced.