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Tributes as puppet king Eugene dies

Legendary puppeteer Eugene Lambert has died at the age of 82.

The Sligo native entertained generations of children on the hit RTE children's programme Wanderly Wagon, and is also credited as being the brains behind iconic children's show Bosco.

The puppeteer died peacefully in his Monkstown home and is survived by his wife Mai and eight children.

All of his children worked on Wanderly Wagon which lasted 15 years from 1967 to 1982.

Although Lambert was retired at the time of his death, he spent the majority of his life entertaining children with his creations.

He founded Ireland's only purpose-built puppet theatre, the Lambert Puppet Theatre in 1972 in Monkstown.

The late Michael Jackson famously visited there during one of his trips to Ireland.

It is home to the country's largest collection of puppets and hosts family productions throughout the weekend.

The theatre can hold up to 250 people and the venue also houses a museum.


Each year, it attracts hundreds of children and is a central part of the International Puppet Theatre Festival.

Fans penned online tributes to the entertainer. One wrote: "It's very sad. He was such a huge part of most Irish thirty-something childhoods."

Last year, Mr Lambert recalled performing for the late King of Pop, who died last year, and spoke fondly of the singer.

He first performed for Jackson in 1992 and he was so impressed that he returned about 18 months ago when he was last in Ireland.

This time he brought along his children Prince, Paris and Blanket.

Mr Lambert said: "I got a call one day to ask if he could come out to visit our theatre. He arrived in a stretch limousine with several minders in tow. He was fascinated."

Earlier this year, Lambert was the victim of a theft as a young man was charged with stealing €1,000 in cash by using ATM cards in the name of the puppeteer and his wife.