Brendan Grace pictured at the 2012 funeral of fellow comedian Hal Roach, who he said had a huge influence on his work. ROLLING NEWS.IE
By Irish Echo Staff
The Dublin comedian and entertainer Brendan Grace has died at the age of 68. He had been battling lung cancer and pneumonia in recent weeks.
Grace was a resident of West Palm Beach, Fla., with his wife Eileen, but was working in Ireland when he became ill. A spokesman for his management team said he was surrounded by family members when he died.
The Liberties-born comic was initially a singer but turned to comedy and was particularly known early on for his Dublin schoolboy character Bottler.
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President Michael D. Higgins said that Grace was noted for his “spontaneous wit and his sense of timing.”
He added on Twitter: “Brendan’s sense of humor was drawing from, and itself a profound contribution to, the deep wellspring of Irish wit.
“His best-loved characters will endure, precisely because they are both recognizable and representative of the experiences lived and recalled by Irish people of all ages,” the president said.
His long-time manager Tom Kelly said on Virgin Media One’s “Ireland:AM” program this morning, “Although he was aware of the outcome himself in the last few days when the cancer was diagnosed, it’s a great shock to everybody,” he said. “He was very weak, he didn’t wish to have chemo or anything like that, and the inevitable happened.
“Mrs Brown’s Boys” star Brendan O’Carroll commented on Twitter: “So sad at the passing of a great comedy legend, husband and father,” he wrote on Twitter. “He opened doors for so many of us and leaves a legacy of love and laughter that will echo through this land and we will all mourn his passing.
“Rest peacefully Bottler you’ve earned it,” O’Carroll said.
“Late Late Show” presenter Ryan Tubridy wrote on Instagram, “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.”
RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes said in a statement: “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.”