'Such a Gent' | 

Irish celebrities pay tribute to ‘funny and kind’ Paul O’Grady after shock death

Dozens of fans and famous faces have taken to Twitter to remember the beloved presenter for his career, charity work, and talent.

Paul O'Grady (Ian West/PA)© Ian West

Neasa Cumiskey and Mike BediganSunday World

Tributes have been pouring in for the “amazing” Paul O’Grady, who died aged 67 on Tuesday evening.

The TV star, also known for his drag queen persona Lily Savage, died “unexpectedly but peacefully”, his husband Andre Portasio said in a statement.

Dozens of fans and famous faces have taken to Twitter to remember the beloved presenter for his career, charity work, and talent.

Some Irish names in the industry joined in and shared their own tributes to O’Grady online.

Former Miss Ireland Amanda Brunker wrote about her pleasant encounter with O’Grady as she hailed him as “a comedy legend”.

“Had the absolute pleasure of meeting Paul O’Grady once in London, in a breakfast club around 6:30am. He was such a gent, and so proud of his Irish heritage. He will forever remain a comedy legend and all round good egg,” she wrote.

Author Seamas O’Reilly, who penned the bestseller Did Ye Hear Mammy Died?, shared a clip from his chat show Paul O’Grady Live in 2010 where he criticised the British Conservative Party’s policies.

He wrote: “RIP to Paul O'Grady. I suppose we'll see this clip a lot today, but it can't be shown enough.

“I'd love to know what went into its being broadcast and if he ever got any pushback. I've never seen anything so dazzlingly, righteously angry on Consensus Approved TV since.”

Fair City star Rory Cowan said that O’Grady was “diseased with talent” as he wrote: “Oh no, that’s terrible news. Paul O’Grady was one of the funniest comedians ever. He was diseased with talent. It oozed out of every pore of his body. A very funny and kind man died tonight. So sad”.

And tributes are flooding in on the other side of the pond, with UK celebrities such as Lorraine Kelly speaking fondly of their late pal.

The Scottish presenter said: “Such sad news. Paul O’Grady - funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise. Will be sorely missed. A really special man.”

Piers Morgan wrote: “RIP Paul O'Grady, 67. A wonderfully warm, mischievous, hilarious guy with a sublime natural talent for broadcasting and making people laugh.”

While comedian Sandi Toksvig added: “Working with Paul O’Grady was one of the greatest pleasures of my life. Funny, fearless and full of rage. The best. The world seems a little less bright.”

O’Grady was born in 1955 to working-class Irish family, in Birkenhead, Liverpool.

His father hailed from Ballincurry in Co Roscommon but later moved to England where he met O’Grady’s mum, the daughter of Irish immigrants from Co Louth.

Despite living in England all his life, O’Grady previously revealed that he toyed with the idea of moving to Ireland with his partner.

“I’ve lots of family in Ireland – mainly from Roscommon and a couple in Dublin. I’ve such a good time over there,” he told Independent.ie last October.

“We were considering buying my grandad’s house in Roscommon. It was a lovely cut-stone farmhouse, but they were using it for cattle storage. It didn’t have a roof and everything had fallen to bits. I also thought when would I go there, and what would I do?

“I did consider moving to Dublin at one stage. I was looking at property in Drumcondra ... but listen, I can go anywhere. People laugh at me because I’ll visit somewhere new and say, ‘I could live here!’ I get fond of a hotel room.”

He began his career performing as Lily Savage in the 1970s whilst working as a peripatetic care officer for Camden Council, going on to tour northern England as part of drag duo the Playgirls.

He later settled into a solo show as Savage that ran for eight years at London's Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and made a name for himself speaking out about LGBT issues.

O'Grady's career as Savage took off with TV and radio appearances in character and he was eventually asked to take over from Paula Yates as The Big Breakfast presenter as Savage from 1995 to 1996.

During his career, he hosted The Paul O'Grady Show, Blind Date and Blankety Blank, as well as ITV's multi-award-winning For The Love Of Dogs.

He also hosted ITV celebrity game show, Paul O'Grady's Saturday Night Line Up.

Throughout his career O'Grady won numerous accolades including a TV Bafta, a British Comedy Award, and a National Television Award for The Paul O'Grady Show.

He was made an MBE in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to entertainment.

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