Tom O’Connor ‘had the gift of seeing the funny side to everything’
The great career of the late comedian Tom O’Connor is remembered in Jimmy Cricket’s latest newspaper column.
Tom died in hospital in Buckinghamshire in July aged 81.
He had had Parkinson’s for more than a decade.
Tom rose to fame on TV show Opportunity Knocks, which he won three times.
He went on to star in The Comedians and host shows including Name That Tune, Crosswits and the Tom O’Connor Show.
Like Jimmy, his humour was always completely family friendly.
He was born in Bootle, Merseyside, and went on to become a maths teacher and assistant headteacher.
He became a professional entertainer in the early 1970s, establishing himself as a household name with shows like Pick Pockets.
His career saw him appearing in the Royal Variety Show at the London Palladium and being the subject of This Is Your Life.
Jimmy paid tribute to Tom at the time of his death.
And he also devoted his August column in the Lancashire Evening Post to his friend and fellow entertainer.
He began by writing: “Most people will remember Tom O’Connor for the professional and effortless way he hosted game shows and quiz shows on television.
“But those of us who were lucky enough to see any of his live performances will have cherished memories of a comedian whose razor-sharp observations and impeccable timing had audiences in fits of helpless laughter.”
To finish, Jimmy said: “The one thread which ran through Tom’s comedy was that it was clean and it was also wholesome family humour.
“I was lucky enough to do a couple of television shows with him when he had his own series.
“It was at that time that I vividly remember his parting remark after one of them…
“He said: ‘Take care Jimmy, and remember we’re the guys in the white hats!’
“He will be sadly missed by us all.”
Jimmy posted on Twitter: “Here is my latest @leponline column where I pay my tribute to a wonderful Comic/Game/Quiz/ShowHost.”
He added that Tom’s “live stand-up performances thrilled audiences all over the U.K. for many decades! #livestandup”.