Groundbreaking Comedian Kelly Monteith Dies Aged 80

Comedian Kelly Monteith has died at the age of 80. He is survived by his two children.

Groundbreaking in his own right, Monteith is thought to be one of the first US comedians to be given his own BBC series, with his self-titled show famously running on the broadcaster from 1979 to 1984.

Monteith’s death was confirmed on Monday by The Anglophlile Channel, a Los Angeles based production company that worked closely with the award-winning comedian.

The channel’s statement read: ‘It is with great sadness that The Anglophile Channel announces the passing of our dearest friend and teammate, award-winning comedian/host, Kelly Monteith.

‘Kelly was an integral part of TAC having co-hosted Brit Flix with Kelly, Paul and

Two-Buck Chuck and Kelly’s BBC Memories.’

The statement continued: ‘In 2015 Monteith and Paul Boland were awarded the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award for Best Television

Anchor/Host by the Los Angeles Press Club.

‘After a few successful appearances on the Des O’Connor Show, Monteith starred in

his own successful comedy series, “Kelly Monteith”, which ran on the BBC for six seasons.

‘Monteith co-wrote his titular series with Neil Shand. Monteith was the one of the first American comedians to get his own show on the BBC.

‘In America, Monteith starred in two series on CBS called, The Kelly Monteith Show and The Hit Squad.’

The production company added: ‘As Kelly often remarked, one of the highlights of his career was performing for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Il at the Royal Variety Performance in 1983.

‘His time in England was incredibly special to Monteith. During his time there, he met his future wife Caroline. The couple have two children. Kelly will be deeply missed at The Anglophile Channel, in the world of comedy and by his family and friends alike.’

The Anglophlile Channel produced Monteith’s YouTube series, BBC Memories, in which he discussed the shows that made him a household name.

Chortle reports that the performer’s death comes after he suffered two ‘massive’ strokes in February 2021 that resulted in speech loss.

His ex-wife Caroline was by his side at LA’s Cedar Sinai Hospital throughout the ordeal and later moved him into her family home.

The stand-up star first made a name for himself in the USA’s comedy circuit back in the 70s, having performed 40 times on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

In 1976, CBS awarded him his own variety show called The Kelly Monteith Show, however the series was short lived.

Once Monteith moved to the UK, his popularity rose, and he even landed gigs on Des O’Connor Tonight and Blankety Blank.

In 1983 he performed at the Royal Variety Performance before embarking on a nation-wide tour.

Tributes to Monteith have started appearing on social media, with actor Sanjeev Kohli tweeting: ‘Sad news about Kelly Monteith. Funny, personable & (like Dave Allen) way ahead of his time. Judging from the reaction on here he was a bigger influence than he ever knew.’

Comedian Bennett Arron tweeted: ‘Kelly Monteith has passed away! A few years ago I said in an interview that, along with Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and my father, he was one of my favourite comedians. He heard about it, got in contact and thanked me. It’s sad that many won’t know of him.’

‘RIP Kelly Monteith. Prototype of Garry Shandling, Seinfeld, etc. and obviously influenced by George Carlin. Way ahead of his time but not seen as such because he made his innovation mainstream. Loved him as a kid,’ fellow comedian Nick Pettigrew poignantly penned.

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