4 November 2021
Lionel Blair, the veteran actor, dancer and entertainer, has died at the age of 92.
Born Henry Lionel Ogus, he grew up in Stamford Hill, north London after his family moved from Canada, worked on television as an actor, tap dancer, presenter and choreographer across a seven-decade career.
The entertainer went on to work in the West End but decided to give up acting in 1947 during which he took up his stage name Lionel Blair.
In the 1960s he rose to stardom by being part of variety shows as part of his dance troupe. He took part in a comedic dance-off against Sammy Davis Jr at the Royal Variety Performance in 1961 – which he later called the highlight of his entire career – and ensured his presence as a regular on the bill at future royal shows.
He played the role of a choreographer in the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night in 1964 and life imitated art as he became a sought-after choreographer for films such the 1969 comedy The Magic Christian.
He also starred as a team captain opposite Una Stubbs on ITV’s long-running Give Us A Clue.
He married his wife Susan in March 1967 and the couple had three children and three grandchildren.