Tom O’Connor, a comedian and television show host for decades in the UK, died Sunday in a hospital in Buckinghamshire at age 81 of complications related to Parkinson’s disease.
His son, Steve Finan O’Connor, said he was a “unique comedian who was light years ahead of political correctness.” He added, “Tom was famously known for a brand of humour that was 100% clean and always totally family friendly.”
Born in Bootle, Merseyside, O’Connor started out as a teacher. His early show business days was as a singer, before introducing comedy into his act. That won him attention from TV scouts, and he soon was hosting shows like Pick Pockets and The Zodiac Game.
He also won attention for the show Opportunity Knocks, which he won three times.
O’Connor became a staple of British television, starring in The Comedians and hosting shows like Name That Tune, Crosswits, I’ve Got a Secret, Gambit, and the Tom O’Connor Show.
Beyond hosting quiz shows, he was also an actor, starring as Father Tom in daytime soap Doctors in the early 2000s. He also won the celebrity edition of Come Dine With Me in 2010 and competed on the Pointless Celebrities quiz show with his daughter-in-law, Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis.
Survivors include a wife and four children, as well as 16 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.