Showbiz legend dies aged 92

<strong> Showbiz veteran Lionel Blair, who has died aged 92, his agent has said. </strong> (Photo: Fiona Hanson PA)”  data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTk5NA–/–~B/aD02NTI7dz02MzA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/”/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Showbiz veteran Lionel Blair, who has died aged 92, his agent has said. (Photo: Fiona Hanson PA)

Showbiz veteran Lionel Blair has passed away at the age of 92.

During a career spanning seven decades, he has worked in television as an actor, tap dancer, presenter and choreographer.

Blair died in the early hours of Thursday morning, his agent said.

In recent years, he has made appearances on shows such as Celebrity Big Brother and The Real Marigold Hotel.

He married Susan Blair in 1967 and the couple share three children. The tributes were immediate.

Comedian Julian Clary tweeted: “RIP dear Lionel Blair. A showbiz soldier if there is one.

Broadcaster Danny Baker tweeted: “A true pal, an incomparable artist, an archive from a golden age, an immeasurable talent.

“Can’t think he won’t be in a green room somewhere, dropping names and living fantastic stories. A giant. Really.”

Author Emma Kennedy tweeted: “I am very happy to have met Lionel Blair. He was a Phenomenon. Full of magical, fruity anecdotes end with a wink. What a career. What talent. #RIPLionel “

Piers Morgan tweeted, “RIP Lionel Blair, 92. A wonderful all-round artist and a lovable man. Bad news.”

The seasoned performer was from the old school of variety shows and was able to turn to almost anything – including choreography, dancing, acting, and presentation.

He had a long and successful career on stage and on screen and was best known as a team captain on the charades-style TV show Give Us A Clue.

TV star and friend Christopher Biggins said he got to know Blair in Give Us a Clue, which Blair faced Una Stubbs, who also passed away this year.

“He’s up there now entertaining with Una I’m sure,” he said.

Biggins said Blair was “very competitive” and “loved to win,” adding, “He was just wonderful, a wonderful artist who will be sorely missed.”

Blair has always been shy about his true age and once said, “I’m 59 plus TVA.”

<strong> Sammy Davis Jr, Joyce Blair and Lionel Blair in 1966. </strong> (Photo: PA via PA Wire / PA Images)”  data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTEwODg-/–~B/aD03MTQ7dz02MzA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/”/><noscript><img alt= Sammy Davis Jr, Joyce Blair and Lionel Blair in 1966. (Photo: PA via PA Wire / PA Images)” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTEwODg-/–~B/aD03MTQ7dz02MzA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/” class=”caas-img”/>

Sammy Davis Jr, Joyce Blair and Lionel Blair in 1966. (Photo: PA via PA Wire / PA Images)

The performer was born Henry Lionel Ogus in Canada in 1928 before moving to Britain at the age of two.

He grew up in Stamford Hill, north London, and was evacuated to Oxford when war broke out, along with his sister Joyce and mother Deborah.

Her family was Jewish but not Orthodox, and their habit of eating bacon was frowned upon by their neighbors.

Blair cited Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Shirley Temple as figures who inspired him to pursue a life in show business.

He started performing in plays as a child and attended the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford in 1944 before joining a touring company called the Savoy Players.

After a stint on stage in the West End, he decided to swap theater for dance and took the stage name Lionel Blair.

Her onstage credits included Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, and had roles in Lady Be Good, Mr Cinders and Pageant.

His career has seen him engage in a dance against Sammy Davis Jr at the Royal Variety Performance in 1961, appear in the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night, and choreograph big-screen feature films such as The Magic Christian.

On television, he choreographed and appeared in 1970s programs such as The Mike And Bernie Show, The Tommy Cooper Hour, and Jimmy Tarbuck Show.

He pivoted to judge with New Faces in the late ’70s, a precursor talent show for series such as Pop Idol and The X Factor.

This is breaking news and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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