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Saturday 30 August 2014

Comedian Norman Collier dies

Published 15/03/2013 | 13:27

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Norman Collier has died at the age of 87

Norman Collier, a star of numerous TV light entertainment shows and famed for his faulty microphone routine, has died at the age of 87.

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The comic became a major figure on the club circuit and on TV with his stuttering performances as he pretended to have a sound problem, as well as for another long-running gag where he strutted and clucked like a chicken.

The comic suffered from Parkinson's disease for a number of years. Collier's son-in-law, John Ainsley, said his father-in-law died peacefully in his sleep at a nursing home in Brough, East Yorkshire, at 6.05pm yesterday.

Impressionist Jon Culshaw was among those paying tribute, calling Collier a "wonderfully funny man".

Ricky Gervais made a comic reference to Collier's long-standing microphone gag, in which he would pretend the sound had an intermittent fault causing letters and syllables to be silent. He wrote on Twitter: "R P orman ollier."

Mr Ainsley, who is married to Collier's daughter Karen, said: "His passion was making people laugh and that's what he did all his life. He was the same at home as he was on stage. He was adorable, he was hilarious."

Mr Ainsley went on: "He loved his family and just wanted to be around all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.Everyone who knew him loved him. And to professionals, he was the comedians' comedian. People like Jimmy Tarbuck have always said Norman was the one they would go and see if they wanted a laugh."

Collier rose to fame on the local club circuit, but took more than a decade of plugging away before he turned professional in the early 1960s. By 1971 he was on the bill for the Royal Variety Performance and in the years that followed he became a regular face on TV entertainment programmes.

Mr Ainsley went on: "He'd been ill with Parkinson's for seven years but he didn't make a fuss about it. His family saw him yesterday and he died peacefully in his sleep. He will be missed by a lot people because he was such an adorable, lovely man."

Collier and his wife Lucy had been married for more than 60 years and had three children.

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