Born In: Bermondsey, London, England
Michael Barrymore is a British actor, comedian and television presenter who is best known for hosting the game-show, Strike It Lucky, and the variety show Barrymore. He was also the lead star of television comedy drama, Bob Martin. His other shows include My Kind of People, My Kind of Music, Kids Say the Funniest Things and Animals Do the Funniest Things. He was extremely popular in the 1980s and 1990s and was loved by the audience for his energy. He was voted the UK's favourite television star many times and won various awards for his work. Additionally, he was amongst the best paid presenters on the small screen. In 2001, his career nosedived after a man, Stuart Lubbock, was found dead in the swimming pool of his house following a party. He was arrested in connection with the case but was never charged. The case remains unsolved till date. He made an attempt to revive his television career by appearing in Celebrity Big Brother, however, it did not succeed.
Also Known As: Michael Ciaran Parker
Spouse/Ex-: Cheryl Barrymore
father: George Barrymore
mother: Margaret Barrymore
siblings: Ann Barrymore, John Barrymore
Born Country: England
Grouping of People: Gay
Michael Barrymore was born as Michael Ciaran Parker on 4th May 1952 in Bermondsey, London. His father, an alcoholic, never stuck to a job and left the family when Michael was eleven. His mother, Margaret, worked various jobs. He had an elder brother and sister.
At the age of eight, he saw a film of English actor and comedian, Norman Wisdom, and was inspired to become like him.
Michael Barrymore left school when he was fifteen years old and took up series of jobs like working at a toy department of Selfridges and taking up the job of a hair dresser.
He also worked as a Redcoat at Butlins holiday camps and London’s West End theatre shows. While working for the latter, he met his future wife Cheryl St Claire in 1974 who became his manager. She was instrumental in making him a success.
He began doing stand-up comedy and in 1975 won the television talent show, New Faces. A year later, he appeared in a comedy series Who Do You Do.
In 1979, he was hired to be a panellist on the comedy game show, Blankety Blank. He also served as the warm-up man in the popular game show Generation Game and Little and Large theatre show.
The early 1980s saw him portraying various characters in television series Russ Abbot's Saturday Madhouse.
In 1983, he got his own sketch show called The Michael Barrymore Show; however, he left it after just one season.
In 1984, he hosted BBC’s gameshow, Get Set Go, which again lasted one season.
In 1986, he began hosting the ITV gameshow, Strike It Lucky, which became hugely popular and continued till 1999 (known as Strike It Rich from 1996). His way of engaging with the audience and contestants became popular and the show became one of the most watched shows on British TV in the late 1980s.
In 1987, he released a single Doin' the Crab which a year later became the theme tune for his BBC show, Michael Barrymore's Saturday Night Out.
In 1991, he began hosting a light entertainment show, Barrymore, which yet again became successful and saw him giving comedy performances and interviewing guests. Owing to drop in ratings, Barrymore was cancelled in 1997, though it returned for one season later in 2000.
Michael Barrymore also made several appearances at the Royal Variety Performance shows. The 1992 performance in The Children's Royal Variety Performance show earned him a lot of accolades.
Battling with alcohol and drug addiction, he checked himself into a rehab but left soon to pen a successful book, Back in Business (1995) wherein he detailed about his life in the rehab and provided insight into the addiction problem.
In 1995, a spinoff show of Barrymore known as My Kind of People began airing on ITV. It was cancelled after just one season.
A couple of years later, he portrayed Mr. Step in Spice World, a musical comedy film starring pop girl group Spice Girls.
Meanwhile, he presented a game show My Kind of Music (1998–2002), a comedy series Kids Say the Funniest Things (1998–2000) and a home video show Animals Do the Funniest Things (1999–2000) for ITV.
He played the main role in comedy series Bob Martin (2000–2001) for ITV and also presented a three-part BBC documentary series Barrymore on Broadway (2000).
On 31st March 2001, following a party at Barrymore's house, a man named Stuart Lubbock was found dead in the swimming pool. Traces of drugs and alcohol were found in his body and it was concluded that he was a victim of sexual assault.
Michael Barrymore received a police caution for drug possession and was arrested on suspicion of murder in 2007 but was not charged for it for the lack of evidence. He has maintained that he had no involvement in the case.
The controversy following the death resulted in his contract being terminated by ITV. His career saw a severe downfall in the UK and he moved to New Zealand.
In New Zealand and Australia, he performed live stage shows. He also worked in an American musical Chicago.
In 2006, he participated, as a contestant, on the reality show, Celebrity Big Brother, fuelling speculations that his career was on a revival path.
He ended up as a runner up in the show and the same year also guest hosted Channel 4's primetime television show The Friday Night Project. However, despite this, his television career did not restart.
His book Awight Now: Setting the Record Straight too came out in 2006 wherein he gave an account of his life, what happened on the night Stuart Lubbock died and its consequences.
In 2006 again, he played the main role in Scrooge – The Musical which was staged at the Empire Theatre. In 2008, he acted in the stage play Surviving Spike.
In 2009, he served as the roving reporter of Big Brother's Little Brother.
In 2011, he appeared as a contestant in Channel 4’s reality game show Celebrity Coach Trip.
He appeared in various chat shows to talk about his life story, career and downfall. These include The Saturday Night Show (2013), This Morning (2013), The Jeremy Kyle Show (2014) and Piers Morgan's Life Stories (2019) on ITV and The Nolan Show (2013) on BBC NI.
In 2015, he sued the Essex Police over his wrongful arrest in Stuart Lubbock’s case which damaged his career. He was granted damages in 2017 by a London High Court; however, in 2019, the compensation claim was dropped.
In 2019, a hand injury forced him to pull out of ITV’s competition series Dancing on Ice.
In 2020, he unsuccessfully attempted to revive his hit show Strike It Lucky online on Instagram.
Again in 2020, a Channel 4 documentary, Barrymore: The Body in the Pool, about Stuart Lubbock’s death brought him back into news. The Essex police announced a cash reward to anyone providing important information in the case which still remains unsolved.
Michael Barrymore met his wife Cheryl Cocklin in 1974 and just a couple of years later wedded her.
In 1995, he publicly accepted that he was gay, following which the two divorced in 1997. In 2005, Cheryl passed due to lung cancer.
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