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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Orville loses his voice as ventriloquist Keith (67) dies

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Orville and Keith Harris
Orville and Keith Harris

Ventriloquist Keith Harris (right), famous for his act with his puppet duck Orville, died today aged 67, his agent said.

Robert C Kelly said Harris, whom he described as a "thoroughly decent man", was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and became ill again in January.

He said: "I spoke to Keith most days, whether we had business to do or not. I think I laughed every single time we spoke.

"Keith was not only a technically great ventriloquist, he was also a gifted mimic and an extraordinarily funny man both on stage and off.

Mr Kelly said Harris died in hospital in Blackpool.

Harris, who married four times, had three children.

He entertained generations of children with his sidekick Orville, a bright green duck who wore a nappy, and a monkey called Cuddles.

His 1982 single with Orville, I Wish I Could Fly, was a top-five hit.

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