UK's "It's a cracker" comic Frank Carson dies at 85

Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:05pm EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - British comedian Frank Carson, best known for the oft-repeated catchphrases "It's the way I tell 'em" and "It's a cracker" as well as his irreverent style of humor, has died aged 85.

The Belfast-born performer spent several years serving with the British army in the Middle East before showbusiness.

He started out in Irish television before moving to England, where he won television talent show "Opportunity Knocks" several times, helping to launch his career.

During the 1970s he starred alongside the likes of Bernard Manning and Jim Bowen in "The Comedians" television series, and was a familiar face on air throughout the following two decades.

A family statement quoted by the BBC said the "husband, father, Gaga and comedian set off for his final gig today."

"It's quieter down here now. God help them up there!!"

Despite battling a long illness, he was performing until December, and one of his final performances was before British Queen Elizabeth's husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

Carson was an active charity campaigner, and was recognized by the Roman Catholic Church when he was awarded a Papal Knighthood of the Order of St Gregory by Pope John Paul II.

He is survived by his wife Ruth, a daughter and two sons.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

 
A woman signs a book of condolences in memory of late Irish comedian Frank Carson at City Hall in Belfast February 23, 2012. Carson died aged 85 at his home in Blackpool.

 REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton