British TV legend hosted “Strictly Come Dancing” and “The Generation Game”…
English television presenter Sir Bruce Forsyth, who became Britain’s highest-paid TV personality during a career that spanned more than 70 years, died Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, according to a statement by his manager. He was 89 and had been in ill health for several years.
In recent years, Forsyth was known best to viewers as the host of the dance competition series “Strictly Come Dancing” as well as many game shows, including “The Generation Game,” “Play Your Cards Right,” and “The Price Is Right.” A man of many catchphrases, he revived the most popular of them, “nice to see you, to see you nice,” more than 30 years after its origin for “Strictly.”
Born Feb. 22, 1928, in London, Forsyth learned to tap dance at a young age and began performing as Boy Bruce, the Mighty Atom, at only 14. In 1958, he began hosting “Sunday Night at the London Palladium,” a variety show that became a huge hit, drawing 10 million viewers. It was during his time hosting this program that he became Britain’s highest-paid TV entertainer. Over the following decades, he hosted a string of successful game shows including the 1970s hit “The Generation Game,” which attracted 20 million viewers at its peak.
Forsyth also appeared in a few film and TV acting roles, including in Disney’s ”Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971) and as a guest star on “Magnum P.I.”
Following a career lull, Forsyth revived his career in 2004 as a co-host of the BBC One ballroom dancing competition series “Strictly Come Dancing.” Known to fans as “Strictly,” the show is still running, though Forsyth retired in 2013. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011.
Forsyth was “one of the greatest entertainers our country has ever known,” according to BBC’s Sir Tony Hall. “He has delighted millions of people and defined Saturday night television for decades, with shows like ‘The Generation Game’ and, most recently, ‘Strictly.’”
Tess Daly, Forsyth’s co-host on “Strictly Come Dancing,” reacted to his death, saying in part, “He has been there for me as a co-host, a mentor, but most importantly as a friend, and I’m extremely fortunate to have worked alongside the man who defined Saturday night entertainment for so many decades. He was a gentleman and a true legend, and I will miss him deeply.”
Claudia Winkleman, who replaced Forsyth on “Strictly Come Dancing” following his retirement, tweeted that he was “the King of TV, the Prince of Performers, and the most generous of people … all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love.”
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