Tributes were paid to the comedian Freddie Starr after he was found dead in Spain at the age of 76, according to reports.
“This is Freddie’s manager. Just to confirm Freddie has passed away. R.i.p to our greatest comedian of all time,” a statement on Facebook said.
Starr told The Times in 2003 that his mother was German Jewish. “I think most of her family got killed off in the Holocaust. She settled in Liverpool,” he said.
Married four times and a father to six children, Starr’s life was full of ups and downs.
The Liverpudlian started out singing with a local pop group before moving into comedy.
He made his comedy debut on TV talent show Opportunity Knocks.
The show led to an appearance in the 1970s Royal Variety Performance and a place in the line-up of sketch show Who Do You Do?
In 1994 a childhood dream came true when his race horse Miinnehoma won the Grand National.
“Some people think that the most wonderful sight they will see is a sunset over the Taj Mahal – but for me, the dream is to see my horse go past the winning post,” he said.
His later years were marred by allegations of historic sexual assault and a bitter and unsuccessful defamation lawsuit that cost him a rumoured £1 million.
He was accused of groping a 15-year-old girl while she attended a Jimmy Savile TV show and spent 18 months on bail before he was told he would not be prosecuted.
In 2015 he lost a High Court damages claim against his accuser, leaving him with an estimated £1 million legal bill.
Brian Shaw, who worked for Starr as his promoter, agent, and manager for the best part of 30 years, was a “very close friend” and hailed Starr as “a true genius”.
“He was an unpredictable genius”, he said.
“Starr was the godfather of comedy, the funniest man anyone had ever known, that’s shared by virtually everyone who ever knew him.
“He hadn’t been well in recent years
“He wasn’t terribly well. I was as choked as anyone when I heard the news.”