Kenny Everett, the radio disc jockey who virtually patented the description zany, died yesterday of Aids. His sister Kate Horgan, who had been looking after him, was with him when he died in his sleep.
Everett, who was 50, announced that he had Aids two years ago, and his health declined rapidly. His former lover, a former Red Army soldier, Nikolai Grishanovich, died of Aids two years ago.
Everett established his reputation as a mould breaker in radio in the 1960s, starting on a pirate station when he was 17, and later invented a host of outrageous characters, made irreverent jokes and wrote and often sang his own comic jingles.
He joined Radio 1 when it was set up, but was sacked in 1970 for an irreverent comment about a politician's wife. He later returned to the BBC, but his real fame came from a Thames Television series, The Kenny Everett Video Show in 1978, which gave him full scope to develop his trademark maze of characters.
More recently Everett had a long-running afternoon show on Capital Gold Radio, London.
At the age of 21, Everett had married a spiritualist, Lee, as he found it traumatic to acknowledge his homosexuality. He once attempted suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills. But in later years he came out as gay.
Another Capital Radio star, Chris Tarrant, said last night: "He was the most original figure who has ever performed on British radio. The whole radio industry is deeply saddened by the news of Kenny's death. In many ways he started everything. He will be hugely missed as an innovator and a friend and he is totally irreplaceable."
"Kenny Everett was quite simply a genius," said former Radio 1 DJ Noel Edmonds. "I am very, very sad. He was my main inspiration from the days when I listened to the pirate ships and he was the major force in completely changing radio ... "
Spin-doctor, page 3
Obituary, page 16
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