Legendary comedian and impersonator Mike Yarwood dies aged 82

Legendary comedian and impersonator Mike Yarwood dies aged 82

Comedian and impersonator Mike Yarwood has died aged 82, the Royal Variety Charity has announced.

In a post shared on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, the organisation shared a picture of Yarwood meeting the late Queen Elizabeth II while writing: ‘We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of the legendary comedian and impersonator, #MikeYarwood, OBE.

‘Mike leaves behind an immeasurable void in the entertainment industry. We send our deepest condolences to Mike’s family, his many friends and fans. RIP 🙏.’

Tributes immediately came for the late performer on social media, with Piers Morgan writing: ‘Sad news. Massive TV star when I was growing up, and such a gifted comedian & impressionist. RIP Mike, and thanks for all the laughs.’

The operations manager at the Royal Variety Peter Hinton added: ‘I shall sorely miss Mike. Our brilliant chats and our proper belly laughs.

‘There was no one like him before, and none like him left. A real gentle man and a truly unique, one of a kind. Rest in Peace.’

Former EastEnders actor Stuart Antony said: ‘Saddened to hear that the legend Mike Yarwood has passed away. His impressions were beyond perfection… but he was just the nicest man with a wealth of stories – RIP Mike Yarwood.’

Born on June 14 1941 in Bredbury, Cheshire, Yarwood became a household name in the 1960s and 1970s with his impressions of people including high-profile politicians and celebrities.

Speaking of Yarwood’s legacy, the Royal Variety Charity stated: ‘Mike Yarwood quickly rose to prominence for his exceptional ability to mimic the voices and mannerisms of countless celebrities and public figures.

‘His talent for impersonation brought smiles to the faces of millions and his unique ability to capture the essence of his subjects made him an icon in the comedy world.’

One of Yarwood’s trademark impersonations was of Labour leader and Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who was in power at No 10 Downing Street from 1964 until 1970, and then for a second term from 1974 to 1976.

He also imitated then-Prince Charles, sparking controversy for his portrayal of the royal figure.

The comedian starred in several TV shows which featured himself as the titular personality, including Will the Real Mike Yarwood Stand Up?, Look: Mike Yarwood, Mike Yarwood in Persons and The Mike Yarwood Show.

The Royal Variety Charity said: ‘The Mike Yarwood Show (1977) holds the record for the largest single Christmas Day audience of 21.4 million viewers.

‘Mike’s family have asked that their privacy be respected during this sad and difficult time.’

Yarwood died in hospital on Friday September 8.

He spent the later years of his life at the Royal Variety Charity’s Brinsworth House, a residential and nursing retirement home for theatre and entertainment professionals in Twickenham, south-west London.

The impersonator had two daughters with his ex-wife, dancer Sandra Burville.

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