by Graham Pierrepoint
An all-round star recognizable to millions of British TV viewers, legendary entertainer, dancer and TV host Sir Bruce Forsyth has passed away this week at the age of 89. The star’s passing comes 75 years after he made his debut in showbiz as Boy Bruce the Mighty Atom – and he would be a regular fixture on British television for decades. Forsyth had been suffering from illness and had largely retired away from the public eye in recent years, though he had famously continued to host shows such as Strictly Come Dancing (on which the US’ Dancing With The Stars is based) – well into his ninth decade.
Forsyth enjoyed his biggest successes in light entertainment as the genial and wisecracking host of such Saturday night staples as The Generation Game, The Price is Right and more besides – having also found fame as the host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium, and becoming just as well-known for his fancy footwork as he was for his unmistakable stage presence and familiar catchphrases. Bruce Forsyth was, and always will be, a steadfast part of British culture – his tenure on the small screen has been witnessed by the majority of people alive in the UK today, commanding millions of viewers and adoring fans across the decades.
Forsyth – colloquially known as Brucie – was also a keen golfer, having been a frequent fixture at many celebrity tournaments and a regular linksman – and, like many other stars of the day, was considered something of a jack of all trades. Forsyth’s wit, charm and unflappable professionalism – while outpouring genuine joy in what he did – endeared him to millions who watched him regularly.
Forsyth was, indeed, a regular fixture on British TV until recently, when he decided to step down from hosting Strictly Come Dancing – and he had been struggling with illness until recently – with many concerned as to whether or not the star, who always refused to retire outright, would return to UK screens. Forsyth was knighted in 2011 to the delight of fans – and his passing will no doubt come as incredibly saddening to those who loved his work.
Forsyth’s legacy will live on – shows such as his iconic Generation game are set to return to UK screens under new hosts in the coming months, while it is likely tributes will be pouring out to the late star for quite some time. If there was ever a British entertainer who commanded the respect of the industry, it was Brucie.