Paul O’Grady ‘irreplaceable and hilarious’ – Annie the Musical team
Late entertainer was due to perform on stage in Dublin
Paul O’Grady was “irreplaceable and hilarious”, according to the team behind Annie the Musical, which he was due to perform in Dublin this year.
The entertainer and TV star, also known for his drag queen persona Lily Savage, died “unexpectedly, but peacefully” on Tuesday evening at the age of 67, a statement said.
Paul was due to hit the stage as Miss Hannigan in the classic musical at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre from August 29 until September 3 this year.
The BAFTA-winning television, radio and stage star first played the iconic role at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1998.
The West End production will star Craig Revel Horwood as Miss Hannigan from August 22 until August 26, but it is not yet known who will replace Paul on the dates in Dublin.
The team from Annie said: “Everyone at Annie the Musical is stunned and saddened by the passing of Paul O’Grady.
“An incredible Miss Hannigan and an irreplaceable, hilarious, and generous person who we will all miss immensely.
“Our thoughts are with Paul’s family and friends at this very sad time. There will be further news from Annie the Musical in due course.”
His other theatre credits include playing the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium and many pantomimes, including Cinderella and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
On television he was best known as the host of ITV’s Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, Paul O’Grady’s Great British Escape, The Paul O’Grady Show, Channel 4’s Blind Date and BBC One’s Blankety Blank.
He was also a highly celebrated writer and recently completed a 14-year run as a presenter on BBC Radio 2.
His father’s family, the Gradys, hail from Galway and Roscommon. Paddy Grady grew up in Ballincurry, Co Roscommon, before moving to England in 1936.
Born in 1955, Paul grew up in the Irish community in Birkenhead, Liverpool, with visits back to Ireland twice a year.
His surname changed to O’Grady due to a clerical error when his father emigrated to England, joined the RAF, and decided to keep the extra letter.