Barry Cryer death: Stephen Fry and Piers Morgan lead tributes to ‘giant of British comedy’

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Stephen Fry, Piers Morgan and Mark Gatiss have led tributes to the comedian Barry Cryer, who has died aged 86.

The cause of Cryer’s death has yet to be disclosed.

Fry was among the first to remember Cryer, writing: “Such sad news, one of the absolute greats of British comedy, Barry Cryer, is no more.

“A glorious, gorgeous, hilarious and gifted writer and performer who straddled all the comic traditions. Universally beloved… farewell, Baz.”

“Barry Cryer was the real deal,” Gatiss tweeted. “An incredibly funny man who worked with - and wrote for - the giants of comedy. Yet he remained forever curious and delighted by whatever was fresh and original. Kind, encouraging, generous and a one off. Goodbye, Cheeky.”

The Chase star and stand-up comic Paul Sinha wrote that “every minute spent in his company was a privilege”.

Rebecca Front added: “Heartbreaking news about Barry Cryer. He was an utter genius, endlessly intrigued by and supportive of everyone who worked in comedy. He made us all feel special. There’s a Baz-shaped hole in the world now that nobody will be able to fill.”

Giles Brandreth shared a photo he had taken with Cryer “only a few weeks ago”, writing: “Baz was just the loveliest guy: funny & generous. He’d worked with everybody & everybody he worked with liked him. I shall miss his happy company so much - & his regular phone calls: he gave you a gem of a joke with each one.”

He added: “Wherever Barry went he brought laughter with him - even to memorial services. And he went to lots because he’d worked with everyone! He was generous about everyone: a great mentor & friend.”

Piers Morgan said: “RIP Barry Cryer, 86. Such a warm, funny and talented man. A giant of British comedy. Thanks for all the laughs, Barry.”

“Farewell to the great Barry Cryer,” food critic Jay Rayner wrote. “A comic genius and a very, very lovely man. Had a habit of phoning people on their birthday and telling them a joke. It was always a good one. But then his jokes always were.”

Writer Simon Blackwell described Cryer as “the heart of British comedy”.

Speaking about the comedian’s death, author Neil Gaiman tweeted: “I’m so so so sorry to hear this. I only worked with Barry Cryer once, on the @BBCRadio4 Anansi Boys - and he wasn’t in the broadcast version, as he was unwell. But being in the room and watching him act and tell jokes was an utter joy.”

Born in 1935, Cryer working with performers including Bruce Forsyth, David Frost, Bob Hope, and Spike Milligan throughout his lengthy career as a comic.

He also wrote episodes for the TV comedy Doctor in the House, which starred Barry Evans and Simon Cuff.