Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Sir Harry Secombe dies
| Sir Harry pictured with Peter Sellers
(left) and Spike Milligan (right)|
During his last few months Sir Harry found his eyesight failing and he had suffered some paralysis down his left side. During a BBC One tribute screened last year he pointed out that he should have been in a wheelchair but wanted to remain as active as possible.
| Sir Harry was delighted with
Sir Harry said he learned how to make people laugh as a child.
"Because I had poor eyesight I had to wear glasses and was worried about getting bullied," he said. "To make sure this didn't happen I started being the fool - and it worked." He went on to become one of Britain's best-loved entertainers.
The veteran comic rose to prominence on BBC radio with his work on the Goons, and was knighted in 1981. The Goon Show, which also starred Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine, was first broadcast in 1949, and enjoyed a nine-year run.
As well as counting Prince Charles among its fans, Beatle John Lennon was also known to tune in to enjoy the show. Sir Harry later became known as a singer and frequently appeared at the London Palladium between 1956 to 1966. He appeared in several films during the 70s, including the musical Oliver! in which he played Mr Bumble.
More recently, Sir Harry, a committed Christian, presented the Sunday night religious programme Highway on ITV as well as Songs of Praise on BBC One. He had also been involved in charity work for organisations including the Army Benevolent Fund and the Stars Organisation for Spastics. The Harry Secombe golf classic was first held at Ifield in 1967, and has since raised £250,000 for the physically and mentally disabled.