Tom O’Connor dead aged 81 – tributes paid to ‘true gentleman’ TV comic

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Beloved British comedian and presenter Tom O’Connor has passed away at the age of 81.

The famous comic was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 14 years ago and family said his condition worsened in the last two years.

As his loved ones paid tribute to the late star this afternoon, calling him a 'true gentlemen', many fans and famous faces also took to social media to mourn the loss of the Bootle-born TV star.

Piers Morgan was one of the many celebrities to share their sadness about the news on social media, tweeting: "RIP Tom O'Connor, 81. Comedian, TV game show host, Liverpool legend & a very funny man. Sad news.

Thanks for all the laughs, Tom."

Fans and famous faces have paid tribute to the beloved star online
(Image: TV Times/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Fellow Scouser Carl Hunter, bassist in the Liverpool-based group The Farm, tweeted: Very sad to hear about the passing of Bootle’s Tom O’Connor. I directed this film with him a few years ago. He was great.

"It had @thebeatles connections during @PaulMcCartney approved it. RIP Tom x"

Another fan paid mourned the loss of a "legend" , writing: "RIP Tom. Amongst many shows was Crosswits, filmed at the old Tyne Tees studios on City Road. Good old days of TV from the regions. Another legend gone. #tomoconnor"

Tom O'Connor on Name That Tune
(Image: Rex)

Liverpudlian O'Connor, had Parkinson's for about 14 years, rose to fame on TV show Opportunity Knocks, which he won a whopping three times.

He also starred in The Comedians and hosted shows such as Name That Tune, Crosswits and the Tom O'Connor Show.

The late star worked as a mathematics and music teacher in his hometown of Bootle, Merseyside before turning his hand to comedy, performing in working men's clubs across the region.

The late star worked as a teacher before touring comedian clubs as a stand-up
(Image: Popperfoto via Getty Images)

His big break came when he on appeared on The Comedians, going on to become one of the nation's most popular television personalities throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

At the height of his career, he hosted the Tom O'Connor Road Show for the BBC which was wacthed by an impressive 12 million viewers each day in its lunchtime slot.

He made his acting debut in 2000, starring in the BBC series Doctors as Father Tom, a Catholic priest and six years later, was given an award for having appeared as a guest on the TV programme Countdown 100 times.

In recent years, the late comedian appeared on our screens in shows such as Celebrity Come Dine with Me Pointless Celebrities, where along with his daughter-in-law, gold medal-winning athlete Denise Lewis, they raised £500 for the charity of choice.

The television presenter's death was announced by his family over the weekend
(Image: Popperfoto via Getty Images)

O'Connor led a campaign for classic 80s gameshow Name That Tune to return back in 2017.

The ex-host of ITV’s song title quiz is so keen he says he would even lend a hand as an assistant on the new format.

He said at the time: “Name That Tune should come back. It’s such a strong show.

O'Connor was famed for hosting on TV and said: “I did seven different game shows and my favourites were Name That Tune and Crosswits.”

He leaves a wife and four children.

Posted on Categories Showbiz