Ronnie Corbett: Theatreland mourns one of their own

Ronnie and Friends

Entertainer Ronnie Corbett has died at the age of 85. Best known for entertaining the nation in The Two Ronnies, this diminutive genius also lit up the London Palladium in a glittering career on Stage, Screen and TV.

Ronnie developed a love of the stage performing in amateur pantomimes and attended stage school in Edinburgh. Spotting Ronnie’s enormous talent, Sir Cedric Hardwicke encouraged him to pursue a career on stage.

Before his TV career, Ronnie also appeared in the musical The Boys from Syracuse and later on his career in he played an Ugly Sister in Cinderella at the Palladium.

On Twitter, Mark Gatiss described him as “the most generous, charming and lovely man”.

In an illustrious career, many plaudits followed including a CBE and, definitely more importantly than that, the love of the nation.

Into every career, no matter how sunny, a little rain must fall. In 1965 Ronnie featured in one of Theatre’s most infamous shows – Lionel Bart’s sequel to Oliver! – Twang!! One of the most talented performers in Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop (which included Carry On favourites Bernard Bresslaw and Barbara Windsor), Corbett played Will Scarlet.

Twang!! featured Robin Hood and his Merry Men attempting to break into Nottingham Castle in a succession of outlandish disguises in an effort to to disrupt the wedding of nymphomaniac strumpet Delphina (Barbara Windsor). Twang!! was one of the most expensive flops in West End History and lives on in Theatre Legend.

But even Twang!! couldn’t dim the 5’1″ actor’s rising star.

Corbett was best known for his BBC series The Two Ronnies, which he presented with Ronnie Barker. His full obituary is viewable at The Guardian online.

His publicist said: “Ronnie Corbett CBE, one of the nation’s best-loved entertainers, passed away this morning, surrounded by his loving family.

“They have asked that their privacy is respected at this very sad time.”