RIP John Fortune: A Comical Year Comes To An End

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When the world was gearing up to ring in the New Year on December 31, 2013, John Fortune, the British Comedian, who found fame through his TV collaborations with John Bird and Rory Bremner, passed away.

Fortune died after treatment for leukaemia, which he was diagnosed with several years ago. He was seventy four. He died peacefully on Tuesday (December 31, 2013) with his wife Emma and dog Grizelle at his bedside, his agent Vivienne Clore said.

Bremner remembered him as a lovely man, a dear friend and a brilliant and fearless satirist. “I am so sorry to let you know that my friend John Fortune died this morning,” Bremner tweeted.

Born in 1939, he was educated in Bristol before going on to Cambridge where he met fellow satirist Bird.

A founding member of Peter Cook’s Establishment Club, Fortune shared a Bafta with Bird in 1997. A former member of the Cambridge Footlights, Fortune was known for his imposing height and his knack for mimicking old-school establishment types.

He also had small roles in a number of films, among them Calendar Girls, The Tailor Of Panama and Woody Allen‘s Match Point but Fortune remains best known for the long Johns skits he performed with Bird, in which they offered witty characterizations of bumbling politicians, military figures and businessmen.

Nigel Cole, the British director, paid tribute saying: “He was in two of my films mainly because I was a big fan”. Fortune appeared in Cole’s 2000 film Saving Grace as well as appearing alongside Bremner in Maybe Baby in the same year.

Comedian Richard Herring wrote, “Very sad to see him go” and joked that it was “not only very sad news, but Fortune dies after lists of famous 2013 deaths already published.”

Stephen Fry added, “Fortune was in the first play, 40 Year on that I too was a part off. Huge influence on the satire boom. Loved parrots too”.

Fortune is survived by his wife Emma and their three children.

May his soul rest in peace.