British comedy stars including Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson turned out to remember funnyman Rik Mayall as he was laid to rest on Thursday (19Jun14). Around 140 mourners gathered at St George's Church in the village of Dittisham in Devon, England for the funeral of the beloved performer, who died aged 56 on 9 June (14).
Among the congregation were French and Saunders, who landed their big break alongside Mayall in 1980s TV sketch series The Comic Strip Presents..., and comedienne Ruby Wax.
Nigel Palmer, who starred in U.K. sitcom The Young Ones with the late actor, was also in attendance, while Mayall's longtime comedy partner and friend Edmondson was among the pallbearers who carried the wicker coffin adorned with red flowers into the church.
Before the funeral, Mayall's widow Barbara Robbins thanked fans for their support, saying, "We would like to let you, the fans, know that we will be having a private family funeral for Rik, as I am sure you will understand.
"Thank you again for all your love and support to all our family, it brings great strength."
A public memorial service for Mayall is scheduled for September (14).
Late comedian Rik Mayall's wife Barbara has broken her silence following the Drop Dead Fred star's sudden death on Monday (09Jun14), revealing the family has been "overwhelmed" by the support of his fans. The official cause of Mayall's death is expected to remain a mystery for weeks, but his wife has revealed the actor suffered "an acute cardiac event" after a morning run.
And now his wife has released a statement thanking fans for their condolences and prayers.
She says, "We always knew that Rik was well loved but we are all overwhelmed by so many joining us in our grief.
"I am sure that you all know Rik's response would be something along the lines of, 'Well, thanks very much all of you, now F**K OFF!'"
Meanwhile, Mayall's daughter Bonnie has taken to Facebook to pay tribute to her dad, writing, "My dad was loved not only by my family, but by many many others. We will never forget him and neither will the world. RIP to the man, the myth, the legend. My idol now and forever. We love you daddy."
Mayall is expected to hit the U.K. pop charts this weekend (15Jun14) thanks to a social media campaign to get his lost World Cup anthem, Noble England, in the Top 40.
The cause of beloved British funnyman Rik Mayall's death will remain a mystery for weeks after initial tests proved inconclusive. The Young Ones star, 56, was found dead at his home in London on Monday (09Jun14) by his stunned wife Barbara Robbin, and coroner's officers carried out a post-mortem on Thursday (12Jun14).
However, the investigation has failed to provide enough clues to determine the cause of the tragedy and officials now have to extend the scope of their probe.
It could take several weeks until a conclusive result is announced.
A spokesman for West London Coroner's Office said on Thursday, "The post-mortem was done this morning. The tests have proved inconclusive, therefore tests are ongoing."
Mayall had suffered from epilepsy and memory problems following a quad bike crash that nearly killed him in 1998.
Veteran singer Sir Cliff Richard has paid tribute to beloved British funnyman Rik Mayall and thanked the comedian for boosting his profile with his hit sitcom The Young Ones. Mayall co-wrote the comedy, named after the pop star's famous 1962 hit, and played a Richard-loving anarchist student who often quoted the singer's lyrics.
The pair even teamed up in 1986 with the rest of The Young Ones cast to record a cover of Richard's song Living Doll for charity, topping the U.K. singles chart and raking in a fortune for Comic Relief.
Mayall died suddenly at his home in London on Monday (09Jun14) at the age of 56, and Richard has now spoken out to pay tribute and recall how the funnyman's 1980s sitcom boosted his profile.
He tells the U.K.'s ITV network, "I became a fan of his when he was in The Young Ones show and was always thrilled when he used my name during his series. I am so sad at his parting."
British writer Ben Elton has paid tribute to his close friend and former collaborator Rik Mayall as mystery continues to surround the funnyman's death. Mayall passed away suddenly at his home in London on Monday (09Jun14) at the age of 56, sparking an outpouring of grief from the U.K. entertainment industry.
Elton, who co-wrote Mayall's breakthrough sitcom The Young Ones, has now joined the tributes, saying in a statement, "I met Rik when I was 18 and his friendship and extraordinary comic talent have been an inspiration to me ever since. I owe him so much, he changed my life utterly when he asked me to co-write The Young Ones... He always made me cry with laughter, now he's just made me cry."
The cause of Mayall's death remains unknown, and a coroner is carrying out tests to determine what was behind the tragedy.
The comedian's wife Barbara Robbin has speculated Mayall may have suffered an epileptic fit related to head injuries he received in a quad bike accident in 1998, and his friend Peter Richardson also suspects some kind of seizure.
Robbin says, "I don't think it was a heart attack, but we just don't know until the coroner's report. Maybe he had a fit, maybe it was his heart. We just don't know."
Richardson, who founded the Comic Strip comedy troupe which helped launch Mayall's career, tells BBC Radio 4, "We still don't know quite what happened, but it was a seizure of some sort. It was very quick... It was just shocking that he went. He was so happy and seemed very healthy when he did go."
Actors Eric Idle, Chris O'dowd, Russell Brand and David Walliams are among the stars who have paid tribute to beloved British funnyman Rik Mayall, who died on Monday (09Jun14) at the age of 56. The shocking death has rocked the U.K. entertainment industry and tributes have since flooded in for Mayall, who established himself as a stand-up star in comedy troupe The Comic Strip, a group which also featured his college pal and future professional partner Adrian 'Ade' Edmondson and Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.
He rose to national fame as one of four students sharing a house in hit sitcom The Young Ones in 1982 and went on to enjoy a slew of iconic roles, including as a mean-spirited politician in The New Statesman and an arrogant military officer in Rowan Atkinson's comedy Blackadder. He also re-teamed with Edmondson to play a pair of hopeless single men in slapstick show Bottom.
Fellow funnyman Walliams was among the first to take to Twitter.com to express his sadness at Mayall's loss, sharing a video clip of his role in Blackadder and writing, "I am heartbroken that my comedy idol growing up Rik Mayall has died. He made me want to be a comedian."
Simon Pegg simply posted YouTube footage of Mayall in The Young Ones with fans, while Brand tweets, "And all the grown-ups will say, 'But why are the kids crying?' And the kids will say, 'Haven't you heard? Rick (sic) is dead' RIP".
Irish actor O'Dowd adds, "Very sad to hear about Rik Mayall's passing. 'Bottom' was a huge part of my youth", and director Edgar Wright posts, "Shocked and saddened that a comedy hero is gone; for those who grew up on The Young Ones, Rik Mayall was one of funniest performers ever."
Monty Python veteran Idle tweets, "Very sad to hear of the passing of Rik Mayall. Far too young. A very funny and talented man", and Blackadder producer and writer John Lloyd tells the BBC, "It's really a dreadful piece of news. He was the most extraordinarily good actor as well as being an amazing stand-up comics. Apart from being great company, he was a great professional."
Meanwhile, his close friend Edmondson has also issued a statement about the years they spent working together, declaring, "They were some of the most carefree, stupid days I ever had and I feel privileged to have shared them with him."
Mayall's cause of death has yet to be determined, but a spokesman for Scotland Yard police reveals paramedics were called to the comedian's house in Barnes, south-west London at 1.20pm local time, when "a man, aged in his 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene". His passing is not believed to be suspicious.
His death comes 16 years after the comedian was left in a coma for several days in 1998 following a quad bike accident near his home in south-west England. He survived the scare but suffered memory problems as a result of the crash.
In recent years, Mayall had concentrated mainly on voiceover work and TV shorts.
In case you haven't heard, Jurassic Park is being re-released in 3D this weekend to celebrate its 20 year anniversary (and make money). I know I'm aging myself here, but when I walked into a screening of the film last Tuesday, my thoughts were as follows: "just get through it." Because at age six, I ran out of the film before its conclusion, in what would be my first of many panic attacks. Why? Well A, because my parents shouldn't have been taking their six-year-old to Jurassic Park, but B, because of the terrifying raptor mess that ruined kitchens for me forever. It's why I tell my imaginary boyfriend I don't like to cook. Need a refresher? See below:
Now, 20 years later, that is still f**king terrifying. Thanks, Spielberg. I don't know how the man managed to convince a nation that T-Rex's aren't really that scary because as long as you don't move they can't see you (which, I'm pretty sure, is at least SOMEWHAT factually incorrect), but ever since JP came out it's been known that raptors are the dinos you don't want to mess with. Thanks, Lex and Tim, for learning that lesson for us. To feel better about being a grown woman who is afraid of a species that died out eons ago, I asked my colleagues to list movie scenes that terrified them both now, and way back when. Now, I feel much better about myself. Here's why:
Lindsey DiMattina is afraid of Bambi: "Watching Bambi run from the fire with his father was one of the most terrifying experiences I had as a 3-year-old. Since watching Bambi I have been horrified that a fire may one day destroy my surroundings and everything I love — and subconsciously, I think it has caused me to have OCD and neurotically check to see that my stove is off and that my curling iron is unplugged before I leave my apartment every day."
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Matt Patches is afraid of Doc Brown: "Caught up in the cartoonish nature of a live-action movie (Roger Rabbit) blew my mind as a kid, with the flurry of cameos only adding to the glee. Then Christopher Lloyd showed up and killed a anthropomorphic shoe. I handled that fine, both now and as a kid. What I couldn't handle is Lloyd's "Judge Doom" pulling off his face to reveal he was actually the maniacal toon that killed Eddie Valient's brother. The voice, the eyes, the hair... horrifying. Still horrifying."
Aly Semigran is afraid of pink elephants: "Hey kids, wanna know what a PCP-fueled fever dream might look like? Sure you do! The menacing, nightmare-inducing "Pink Elephants" sequence in Dumbo is unnerving on so many levels: from that chilling, vaguely threatening song, the terrifying imagery, and the fact that these terrible spawns came from the young, sweet mind of Dumbo who wanted to do nothing more than blow a bubble. Hold me."
Abbey Stone is afraid of an owl with a monocle: "Nothing gave me more nightmares as a child than the horror that is Rock a Doodle. Don't let the chipper trailer voiceover fool you with its talk of "newfound friends," rock star roosters, and "magical, mythical, musical adventure for the whole family," this movie is f**king terrifying. A grotesque owl with a monocle and a maniacal laugh turns a real life boy into an animated kitten and then tries to eat him? No thank you very much. The transformation scene at the beginning is the stuff that therapy thrives on."
Alicia Lutes is afraid of brooms: "Cleaning. Non-stop cleaning. Always cleaning, always throwing away, no matter what. The thought brings fear, anxiety, and terror to the mind of many a child the world over. It's so BORING and takes forever and is totally not fun. Mops and brooms?! Those are parents' tools — not kids. Being that I was of the really-can't-be-bothered-to-pick-up-after-myself brigade as a youth, the thought of an army of mops and brooms come to life was a nightterror of the highest order. Looking back on Fantasia now as an adult still makes me uncomfortable, but mostly because it confuses me why Mickey — king of all things wholesome and child-like — would dabble in the seemingly-dark arts. And with such a menacing, ploddingly uptempo soundtrack? No thanks, my dudes. Plus who wants to be chased by a bunch of cleaning supplies you thought you could control but actually can't? It sounds like a story for a therapist's couch. Or an overworked housekeeper. Or, you know, the fever daydreams that ensure I keep a tidy home as an adult. Instill the fear young enough and you're guaranteed an anxiety-ridden but highly-tidy adult existence."
Kelsea Stahler is afraid of unicorns: Truth: The Last Unicorn still scares me. Other truth: This may or may not mean I'm a wimp. Living trees? Flaming red bulls chasing beautiful unicorns? Old hags? The "great unknown"? Christopher Lee playing the same character he plays in everything? And why are all these creatures trying to destroy that beautiful Mia Farrow unicorn? Admittedly, this movie is too much of a cartoon to be truly scary, but the memory of my childhood nightmares inspired by this movie (see: me as unicorn fleeing various barnyard animals engulfed in flames) are enough to deliver a spooky feeling at the mere mention of the movie.
Michael Arbeiter is afraid of Fred... No, not that one: "In the early 1990s, before I developed a taste for slapstick humor, I’d often find myself at odds with Drop Dead Fred. A family friend would play the video on repeat, delighting in the dark humor, while I amounted nothing but tremendous horror over the scene in which Rik Mayall’s head is squashed in a refrigerator. The clip isn’t quite as terrifying as I remember, but it does trigger vivid memories of intense anxiety…"
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Christian Blauvelt is afraid of a cartoon pirate: "Everything about Captain Hook in Disney’s Peter Pan is terrifying. Everything. His protruding, Leno-esque chin. His Dalí mustache. His impossibly broad Captain Morgan hat. The fact that he imprisons fairies in glass jars. That one of his hands was severed and replaced by a hook! Peter Pan was the first movie I ever saw in a theater—back in the day when Disney actually used to re-release their classics for big-screen distribution. Hook scared the living daylights out of me. You can only imagine the sheer terror that overcame me when I first saw Hook “for real” at Disney World, shortly after seeing the movie. Just the memory of seeing this character seemingly leap off the movie screen and into real life is something I will never get over."
And, Finally, Kate Ward is afraid of David Bowie: "Labyrinth's sexual assaulting, ahem, "helping" hands were bad enough. But nothing quite burned into my brain like the movie's Firey characters, whose gangly limbs were only less terrifying than ability to decapitate one another… for fun. I still lose my head every time I watch it."
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Universal Pictures]
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