Des O’Connor: All-round entertainment and chat show king whose success spans decades

Des O’Connor, who died at the age of 8, was one of the ultimate entertainers whose success spanned decades, appearing as one Regular in prime-time television slots.

O’Connor was born in 1933 in Stepney, East End, London, to a Jewish cleaner and an Irishman. He was relocated to Northampton after the outbreak of World War II.

After finishing his national service with the Royal Air Force, O’Connor first brushed at the showbiz when he began appearing on various shows and as a redcoat for Batlin.

His musical career began in 1967 with the release of his first single Careless Hands.

O’Connor was born in 1933 in Stepney, East End, London, to a Jewish cleaner and an Irishman. He was evacuated to Northampton after the outbreak of World War II (Image: Des O’Connor, 19).

His musical career began in 1967 with the release of his first single Careless Hands (Image: Des O'Connor 1967).

His musical career began in 1967 with the release of his first single Careless Hands (Photo: Des O’Connor in 1967).

Eric Morecambi (left) and Arnie Wise (right), March 1999 with Des O'Connor (center)

Eric Morecambi (left) and Arnie Wise (right), March 1999 with Des O’Connor (center)

The song was closely followed by Eye Present, which was released in 1986 and topped the singles charts.

In total he went on to record four best 10 hits and 36 albums.

However, in 1975 he appeared in a morocco and intelligent sketch that joked that he could not sing.

After one of his records was presented, Eric Morkamba asked: ‘Is this where he sang the right note?’

O’Connor then arrived on stage with public criticism of Morkambe and Arnie Wise.

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The talk show Country O’Connor Tonight 19 was aired on the BBC in 1977, where it ran for five years before it was switched to ITV and aired in the United States. It enjoyed lasting success and was last publicized in 2002.

At 82, O’Connor revealed that the privacy of hosting a good chat show should be polite.

In all, she has been in the top ten hits and has recorded 36 albums (Image: Des O'Connor, Nari Don Porter, Jody Wilson, 1992).

In all, he has been in the top ten hits and has recorded 36 albums (Image: Des O’Connor, Nari Don Porter, Jody Wilson, 1992).

O'Connor (pictured) is survived by his son Adam and his four daughters, Corinne, TJ, Samantha and Christina.

O’Connor (pictured) is survived by his son Adam and his four daughters, Corinne, TJ, Samantha and Christina.

1968: Leaving London's Heathrow Airport for Christmas in Barbados, leaving his wife Gillian and children Tracy-Jane and their 4-year-old Des O'Connor.

1968: Leaving London’s Heathrow Airport for Christmas in Barbados, his wife Gillian and children Tracy-Jane and their 4-year-old Des O’Connor leave London Heathrow Airport.

‘You have to learn to listen,’ he adds: ‘If you ask someone something, answer it yourself, it’s not very clever.

‘It’s about making the guest feel like a guest.

‘Don’t joke about these. It’s supposed to be polite and friendly. ‘

In the 2000s, she appeared with Dead and Mail’s Today co-presenter Melania Sykes, who the pair saw celebrity guests and viewers conduct the competition in interviews.

He was best known for appearing on the game shows Take Your Peak and Pot of Gold, and was awarded the National Television Award at the 2001 Royal Albert Hall.

In 2007, he took on the responsibility of presenting the quiz show Countdown on Channel 4, where he has been presenting about 500 episodes for two years.

The talk show Country O'Connor Tonight 19 was aired on the BBC in 1977, where it ran for five years before it was switched to ITV and aired in the United States.  It enjoyed lasting success and was last aired in 2002 (Image: O'Connor with his family, 1969)

The talk show Country O’Connor Tonight 19 was aired on the BBC in 1977, where it ran for five years before it was switched to ITV and aired in the United States. It enjoyed lasting success and was last aired in 2002 (Image: O’Connor with his family, 1969)

Des O'Connor posted with his CBE for entertainment and broadcast services that Queen Elizabeth II presented him at Buckingham Palace in London with his wife Jody and four-year-old son Adam, 2006

Des O’Connor posted with his CBE for entertainment and broadcast services that Queen Elizabeth II presented him at Buckingham Palace in London with his wife Jody and four-year-old son Adam, 2006

Des O'Connor arrives at the unveiling of a plaque marking the centenary of the London Palladium Theater, 2010

Des O’Connor arrives at the unveiling of a plaque marking the centenary of the London Palladium Theater, 2010

O’Connor was made a CBE in 2006 for recreational services.

She continued to work in later life, and in 2012 she starred in the Dreamboat at the Playhouse Theater and the West End of Petticoat.

That year ITV aired a single special titled The One and Only Des Okner to pay tribute to his 50th year on show-business.

In 2015, he appeared with a variety of performers, including Jimmy Turbak, for a charity event at the London Palladium.

At the time of his death, O’Connor was married to his fourth wife, Jody Brooke Wilson.

He is survived by his son Adam and four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Christina.

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

Tv ninja. Lifelong analyst. Award-winning music evangelist. Professional beer buff. Incurable zombie specialist.

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