'One of the great entertainers of this era' – tributes paid to beloved comedian and actor Brendan Grace

Tributes have poured in following the death of comedian Brendan Grace.

Manager Tom Kelly, who he worked with for 27 years, said he is looking back on Grace’s lifetime “with pride”.

“He was one of the great entertainers of this era,” Mr Kelly told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“You could see at every show how people just warmed to him.

“He gave a performance every night that mirrored the applause and he was a fantastic entertainer, no doubt about that.

“On nights when the audience weren’t very warm, he would turn around, pick up his guitar and sing a song.

“We can look back with pride at his lifetime. He was a family man, very very close to his family and adored by fans all over the country and abroad as well,” he added.

Fellow comedian and friend June Rogers also expressed her sadness at his death.

“I’m shocked this morning he was such a wonderful comic, I was a big fan of his,” she said.

“He’s a very kind man and he was very kind to me when I started out.

“He was a wonderful family man, Eileen and himself were very much together.

“It wasn’t just his comedy, but his voice too, he was an all-rounder.

“He had a fantastic career and he will be sorely missed by everyone in Ireland,” she added.

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll also paid tribute to the comedian.

“I was only 19 years of age and I remember the very first gig I worked on with him,” he reminisced on RTÉ’s Radio One.

“I remember his soundcheck, and I still use it to this day, his soundcheck was ‘Mary had a little lamb and her father shot the shepherd’ and I fell around the place laughing,” he said.

“I remember one tour we did, I kept track of the audience and we played to over 120,000 people and this was at a time that most comedians were considered a warm up act,” he added.

“He was an amazing all rounder and a very generous man with his time,” he said.

“You were brought into the family very quickly and he made you feel part of the family.

“For Brendan’s case, he had a niche within comedy in Ireland and there’s nobody there to fill that,” he added.

Writing on Instagram, radio and TV presenter Ryan Tubridy wrote; “An era ends with the sad passing of Brendan Grace, an Irish icon. From Bottle to Fr Ted and a Late Late Show regular, he never failed to entertain. Condolences to his family, RIP.”

Commenting on Brendan Grace’s passing, RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Brendan Grace.

“Brendan was one of Ireland’s original funny men, and one of Irish comedy’s true pioneers. While there are now many Irish comedians who are household names, Brendan emerged as a talent during an era when there were very few established Irish comedians.

“Through his live shows, his live recordings, The Brendan Grace Show and many memorable guest appearances on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show, Brendan established himself in the hearts of generations of fans, not just in Ireland, but all over the world.

“Importantly, he also paved the way for many of the wonderful comedians this country has produced over the last twenty years or so and leaves behind a legacy he and his family can be proud of. He will be deeply missed.

“My thoughts and those of his many friends and fans across RTÉ are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

RTÉ are repeating tonight their 2018 documentary which marked Brendan Grace’s 50th year in the entertainment business.

‘Brendan Grace – Funny Man’ was directed by Brian Reddin and looked back over the brilliant career of Ireland’s favourite funny man.

The documentary will be repeated at 10.15pm on RTÉ One tonight.

A book of condolences will be available for the public to sign and leave messages at Mansion House in Dawson Street today from 12pm to 5pm and tomorrow from 10am to 5pm.

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