Tom O’Connor has died aged 81, it has been announced. The stand-up comedian was best known for fronting some of Britain’s best primetime TV shows such as Crosswits and Pick Pockets.
The Liverpudlian worked as a mathematics and music teacher at the St Joan of Arc School, Bootle, performing as a comedian after work at working men’s clubs.
He rose to fame on TV show Opportunity Knocks, which he won three times, but his really break came when he appeared on The Comedians.
And by 1977 he was a household name hosting his own ITV show.
Tom went on to host programmes including Name That Tune, Crosswits and the Tom O’Connor Show, which aired every lunch time and viewed by more than 12 million viewers each day.
He also made several appearances in reality television shows in later life, being crowned the champion on Celebrity Come Dine With Me.
Tom also frequently featured on Countdown and in 2011 appeared pm Pointless with his daughter-in-law, former athlete Denise Lewis, to win £500 for their chosen charities.
He also turned his hand to writing, releasing an autobiography titled Take A Funny Turn in 1994.
Since news of his death broke this afternoon, dozens of tributes have poured in for the veteran TV star.
One person wrote on Twitter: “Lovely man, met him a couple of times. Just naturally funny. RIP.”
A third added: “RIP Tom O’Connor one of Liverpool’s finest.”
One Twitter user said: “A great TV host, Great comedian. Never had to rely on using foul and abusive language.”
Another posted: “Saddened to learn of the death today of Tom O’Connor who was not only a legendary comedian, but also an accomplished actor & television presenter, best known for presenting games shows such as; Crosswits & Pick Pockets. RIP.”
TV presenter Piers Morgan tweeted: “RIP Tom O’Connor, 81. Comedian, TV game show host, Liverpool legend & a very funny man. Sad news. Thanks for all the laughs, Tom.”