Standout moments from the career of Lionel Blair
Showbusiness veteran Lionel Blair has died at the age of 92, his agent has said.
Here PA looks back at some of the standout moments from his seven-decade career.
– Taking part in a dance off at the Royal Variety Performance
November 1961 saw Blair take to the stage of London’s Prince of Wales Theatre accompanied by Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr.
They performed a comedy sketch in which “Savile Row shop assistant” Blair taught “gauche American” Davis how to be posh.
The pair become competitive and eventually tried to out-dance each other in the presence of the Queen Mother, who was representing the royal family at the event.
The pair went on to become lifelong friends.
– Becoming a joke on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue
His enthusiastic and sometimes flamboyant manner led to a running gag on Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue that he was gay.
This continued for almost 15 years through host Humphrey Lyttelton and his successor Jack Dee.
Blair was was not amused and described the joke as “merciless and just plain mean” in an interview with the Mirror.
He added: “I didn’t mind for myself but my wife and family really hated it and became very upset.”
– Talking down a man from killing himself
In 2006, Blair had just finished filming for Alan Carr’s End-of-the-Pier Show in Blackpool when they heard a man was trying to jump from a nearby pier.
By the time the pair reached him, the man was holding on by his fingertips, but they were able to grab him and talk him down.
“We spent about 10 minutes talking to him. He just kept saying he wanted to end it all. Then someone said it was Lionel Blair from TV and he did a double take,” he said.
– Entering the Big Brother house
In his 80s, Blair tried his hand at reality television as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.
He took part in the 2014 series which was ultimately won by comedian Jim Davidson, with rapper Dappy as runner-up.
Blair spent 15 days in the house, exiting third after boxer Evander Holyfield and model Jasmine Waltz.
His time on the show infamously saw him dance in a PVC suit as part of an adult-themed task.