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Tributes to comic Norman Collier
9:23am Saturday 16th March 2013 in News
Comic Norman Collier, famed for his faulty microphone routine, has died in an East Yorkshire nursing home aged 87.
Collier became a major figure on the club circuit and on TV with his stuttering performances as he pretended to have a sound problem, as well as for another long-running gag where he strutted and clucked like a chicken.
The sandy-haired comic suffered from Parkinson’s disease for a number of years.
Collier’s son-in-law, John Ainsley, said his father-in-law died peacefully in his sleep at a nursing home in Brough.
Impressionist Jon Culshaw was among those who paid tribute to Collier, calling him a “wonderfully funny man”.
“People would be permanently laughing whenever they were around him,” he said.
Ricky Gervais made a comic reference to Collier’s long-standing microphone gag, in which he would pretend the sound had an intermittent fault causing letters and syllables to be silent.
Gervais wrote on Twitter: “R P orman ollier.”
Comedy writer and broadcaster Danny Baker said of the mic routine: “That really was some act.”
Collier had been a gunner in the Second World War and made his comedy debut in 1948 when a performer at Hull’s Perth Street Club failed to show up and he agreed to fill in.
Alongside his day job as a labourer, he honed his craft on the northern club circuit, eventually making comedy his main career by 1962.
He did seasons at Blackpool and shared stages with Sir Cliff Richard and the Everly Brothers as he rose up the bill.
Collier's performances were showcased on ITV show The Wheeltappers And Shunters Social Club, hosted by Colin Crompton, which was set in a fictional smoky working men's club and featured the top comedy stars of the day. But he was also a regular on many of the light entertainment shows of the day.
He continued to perform well into his 80s, playing the variety circuit alongside his contemporaries and more modern performers, as well as raising thousands of pounds with charity The Grand Order Of Water Rats.
Collier and his wife Lucy had been married for more than 60 years and had three children.