Sir Norman Wisdom dies at 95

RIP comic and Albanian national hero

Sir Norman Wisdom died yesterday at the age of 95, the BBC reports.

A family statement said: "Sir Norman Wisdom has today passed away at Abbotswood Nursing Home on the Isle of Man. Over the last six months Norman has sustained a series of strokes causing a general decline in both his physical and mental health.

"He had maintained a degree of independence until a few days ago. However, over the last few days his condition rapidly declined. He was in no pain or distress and peacefully passed over at 1846 on 4 October."

Sir Norman will be best remembered for his various slapstick film appearances as Norman Pitkin.

While the critics were largely unimpressed, the movies were a huge domestic box office success, and Charlie Chaplin famously described Sir Norman as his "favourite clown".

Many Albanians agreed. Sir Norman became a major celebrity in the Communist state under Enver Hoxha, when his films were among the few peeks of the west citizens were allowed. Known locally as "Mr Pitkin", he was granted the freedom of Tirana in 1995.

Although his film career was in decline by the mid-1960s, Sir Norman continued to work steadily, and later popped up regularly in TV comedy Last of the Summer Wine. He was knighted in 2000.

Sir Norman's friend Nicholas Parsons told the BBC: "Let's remember all the wonderful things he did to entertain people. And that's the greatest gift in the world, to help take people out of themselves and make them laugh." ®

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