WhatsOnStage Logo
Theatre News

Bruce Forsyth dies aged 89

The entertainer passed away following a severe chest infection

Bruce Forsyth in 2014
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The entertainer Bruce Forsyth has passed away aged 89 following a severe chest infection.

Born in Middlesex in 1928, Forsyth started his long career in showbiz aged just 14 with an act called 'Boy Bruce, the Mighty Atom', in which he would sing, dance and play the accordion. Following the Second World War, during which he was called up to the RAF, Forsyth was spotted by Dickie Henderson who offered him a job of compère on the ITV variety show Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

In 1964, he starred in a run of the musical Little Me at the Cambridge Theatre. He played a number of characters alongside Eileen Gourlay. The musical is best known for the song "I've Got Your Number", and ran for 334 performances.

Over the years, Forsyth established himself as a game show host and became a regular sight on televisions around the country. He hosted shows including Play Your Cards Right, The Generation Game and The Price Is Right. During this time, his trademark catchphrases "Nice to see you, to see you nice" and "Didn't he/she/they do well?" became household phrases.

Forsyth with wife Wilnelia Merced in in 2008
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

More recently, Forsyth was known for hosting the BBC's Saturday evening entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing. Forsyth fronted the show with Tess Daly from 2004 until 2013, when it was decided he should scale down his workload.

Throughout his career, Forsyth was awarded several honours including a knighthood in 2011. He holds the Guinness World Record for male TV entertainer with the longest career, and was one of the final people to parade the Olympic torch through London in the summer of 2012.

Forsyth met his wife Wilnelia in 1980 when they were both part of the judging panel for the Miss World contest at the Royal Albert Hall. They have one son together, and he has five daughters from previous marriages, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


Tagged in this Story