Joe Longthorne dies at Blackpool home

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Radio Times

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Joe Longthorne was best known for his singing and impressions

The entertainer Joe Longthorne has died at the age of 64.

Best known as a singer and impressionist, he regularly appeared on TV shows and toured the UK and Europe.

The entertainer Les Dennis tweeted that he was “a supreme talent and a nice man”. Cold Feet actor John Thomson said he was a “great entertainer”.

A statement on his website said Longthorne, who was born in Hull, died in the arms of his husband Jamie at their Blackpool home.

It said: “Joe died in his bedroom, laying in the arms of his devoted husband of 21 years Jamie, with his rosary beads clutched tight to his chest. He leaves behind sister Ann and brother John.”

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Radio Times

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Joe Longthorne would regularly perform impressions with fellow entertainer Les Dennis (right)

Born to a travelling background, Longthorne started in the entertainment business at an early age after winning a local talent contest.

He regularly appeared on the ITV series “Junior Showtime” in 1969 until the age of 16.

After working the club circuit, he received his big break on the ITV series Search For A Star in 1981.

He regularly featured on other TV programmes in the 1980s, including the Les Dennis Laughter Show and the Royal Variety Performance, and also appeared in theatre in the US and at the Sydney Opera House.

‘I felt helpless’

However at the peak of his career in 1989, he was diagnosed with the blood cancer lymphoma.

“Cancer is not a word you expect to hear when things are going so well,” he later said.

“I felt invincible and suddenly out of the blue I felt helpless. I had two choices – to give in or fight.

“I chose the latter. I got up, dusted myself off and got on with life”.

He launched a number of albums in the 1990s and continued to perform despite being diagnosed later with leukaemia.

He was beset by further health complications after a bone marrow transplant in 2005, but returned to perform sell-out concerts.

In 2012, he was awarded an MBE for charitable services.