Entertainer Stan Stennett dies aged 88

Media caption,
Stan Stennett was a jazz guitarist who became an all-round entertainer

Entertainer Stan Stennett has died at the age of 88, his family has confirmed.

The veteran performer from Cardiff spent more than 60 years in showbusiness as a comedy musician, stage and television star.

He appeared in the soaps Crossroads and Coronation Street and shared a stage with many top US and UK stars.

Mr Stennett's son Ceri confirmed his father had died at the University Hospital of Wales during the night.

He had had a stroke about three weeks ago and suffered complications.

Ceri Stennett said: "It's all very raw for the family now, but the wider public will say a prayer with us for a great life making people happy and doing a job he adored.

"My dad was a showman through and through. When the final curtain fell he would want people to remember him as someone who tried to spread as much happiness as he possibly could.

"He was one of those people who could spread happiness throughout the country - not just Wales but much further afield."

Stage and soaps

Stan Stennett's career began during World War Two, playing guitar in a jazz quintet which once supported comedian Bob Hope at a show for US troops based in south Wales.

Stennett went on to appear as a comedian in BBC programmes such as Welsh Rarebit and the Black and White Minstrel Show.

He also appeared in soap operas - as Hilda Ogden's brother in Coronation Street and as Sid Hooper in Crossroads.

On stage Stennett appeared on the same bill as legendary performers such as Danny Kaye, Johnny Ray, the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Morecambe and Wise, Les Dawson and Petula Clark.

He was manager of the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, in May 1984 when his good friend Eric Morecambe collapsed and died of a heart attack just after walking off stage. Earlier, the two entertainers had staged a chat show for the crowd.

Image caption,
Stennett shares a joke with Ken Clarke during the 2010 election campaign

His son Ceri added: "There weren't many people who my dad hadn't worked with over the years and he could call most of them friends.

"But he never lost touch with his roots in Wales and Cardiff was home. He had a perfectly happy what you would call normal family life.

"He loved golf and in his earlier years football and he was as ordinary a person as you would want him to be.

"People always felt my dad was really approachable. He was always really happy to talk to people."

A former director of Cardiff City football club, Stennett continued performing into his eighties, most notably in pantomime.

Fellow entertainer Wyn Calvin paid tribute, telling BBC Radio Wales: "Stan had an amazing affection for the business, but the business had an affection for Stan.

"Stan's variety as a performer was very valuable, because he adjusted. We worked on pantomimes, we worked in summer shows, we worked on variety bills.

"Although he had a reputation around Britain, there was always a love of his home in Cardiff, and of his lovely wife Betty and his family.

"Stan did not want to divorce himself from south Wales, to become the international name that he might have been."

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