Legendary comedian, writer and self-styled “gentle Irish humourist” SPIKE MILLIGAN died of kidney failure at his home in East Sussex on the morning of February 27th, 2002.
Born in India as Terence Alan Milligan, the son of an Irish soldier serving in the British Raj, Spike later chose to become a fully-fledged Irish citizen.
Although he leaves behind a wealth of poetry, assorted writings, television and his inimitable surrealistic streak, Milligan will always be best remembered for his role in “THE GOON SHOW”, the show that revolutionised comedy during the 1950s and still attracts an ardent cult following to this very day.
THE GOONS, of course, also featured the Stellar talents of Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine, all of whom sadly pre-deceased Milligan, but their anarchic slant on virtually everything has proved enduring among the rock ‘n’ roll fraternity, with many from THE BEATLES on down expressing their admiration for the programme.
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Much-loved, but always unpredictable in life as well as onstage, MILLIGAN was also a manic-depressive, who sadly suffered 10 separate breakdowns over the years. Interviewed yesterday, chat show host Michael Parkinson expressed his fondness for Spike but alluded to his unorthodox character by suggesting that working on camera with Spike was like “walking on hot coals” as you were never sure quite how he would react from one moment to the next. Nonetheless, as the cliché goes, we shall not see his like again. Rest in peace, Spike.