Norman Wisdom dies at the age of 95

Image caption,
Sir Norman Wisdom was renowned for a string of comic roles

Comic actor Sir Norman Wisdom has died aged 95, his son has confirmed.

The London-born star was known for his slapstick film roles in the 1950s and 1960s, famously playing Norman Pitkin against frustrated boss Mr Grimsdale.

Sir Norman became a cult figure in Albania, where his were the only films from the West allowed in the country.

His family said he died at a nursing home on the Isle of Man on Monday evening, having suffered a series of strokes over the past six months.

A statement said: "Sir Norman Wisdom has today passed away at Abbotswood Nursing Home on the Isle of Man.

"Over the last six months Norman has sustained a series of strokes causing a general decline in both his physical and mental health.

"He had maintained a degree of independence until a few days ago. However, over the last few days his condition rapidly declined. He was in no pain or distress and peacefully passed over at 1846 on 4 October."

The family asked for time to grieve a "much loved father and grandfather".

'Delightful man'

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice, who worked with Sir Norman later on in his career, said: "He was a childhood hero of mine, when I was at school.

"So it was very exciting to find that he was one of the few childhood heroes that really lived up to being met in real life. He was just a delightful man, and very funny."

Sir Norman, who was knighted in 2000, was renowned for a string of comic roles and Charlie Chaplin described him as his favourite clown.

His later work included the recurring role of Billy Ingleton in the long-running BBC comedy Last of the Summer Wine.

Sir Norman's agent, Johnny Mans, said he was "the greatest".

"His comic timing was absolutely perfect, second to none, and not only a great comic, but also a wonderful, wonderful person."

Phil Day, who had been his publicist since 1969, said Sir Norman was a "lovely man" who was "100% professional".

He said: "He never turned down any request. He never threw a tantrum. He was 100% professional all of the time.

"Of all the artists I've ever worked with, he's been the closest. It's a sad day."

The broadcaster Nicholas Parsons, who was a friend, said Sir Norman would be sorely missed.

"Let's remember all the wonderful things he did to entertain people. And that's the greatest gift in the world, to help take people out of themselves and make them laugh," he said.

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