In Depth

Eddie Large: five things you didn’t know

Little and Large funnyman dies aged 78 after contracting coronavirus in hospital

Scottish comedian Eddie Large, best known as one half of TV double act Little and Large, has died after contracting coronavirus.

The 78-year-old, who was a prime-time TV celebrity in the 1970s and 80s, had reportedly already been suffering with heart failure and contracted the virus in hospital, his family confirmed.

“Dad fought bravely for so long,” they said in a statement. “Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day.

“We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he has achieved in his career with Syd [Little] and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them every week.”

Here’s a look at five things you might not have known about Eddie Large:

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He met his comedy partner in a pub

Large was born Edward Hugh McGinnis in Glasgow in 1941 and reportedly met singer and guitarist Cyril Mead in the Stonemason’s Arms pub in Wythenshawe, Manchester in the 1960s.

According to the Daily Mail, Large heckled Mead during a gig, with the latter later switching to comedy full-time and changing his name to Syd Little. Together, the pair became Little and Large.

The pair’s TV audience was enormous

The BBC reports that the pair went on to win talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1971 and launched their own TV series The Little And Large Show on BBC One soon after.

“In its heyday, their BBC One show was a staple of early Saturday evening TV entertainment, drawing millions of viewers,” the broadcaster adds.

According to the Daily Mail, at their peak up to 25 million viewers would watch the show.

He was a lifelong Manchester City fan

Large, who grew up in Moss Side, Manchester, was a Manchester City fan, and the club also paid tribute to the late comedian, saying: “Everyone at Manchester City is sad to hear that lifelong City fan and celebrity Eddie Large has passed away aged 78.

“Our thoughts are with Eddie’s friends and family at this difficult time.”

In a tweet, comedian Jason Manford – a fellow diehard City fan – said: “So sorry to hear about Eddie Large passing away. Came to every comedy and musical show I did whenever I hit Bristol and was always around for a chat about comedy and Man City afterwards. Such a gentle, funny man. RIP Eddie.”

He had a heart transplant

He had suffered from ill health and had a heart transplant in 2003, something his agent alluded to in a statement on his passing this week.

Peter Mansfield said Large’s family “wanted to say how grateful they are for the extra 17 years that they have had with Eddie” following the procedure, and offered “a huge thank you to the donor and the donor’s family”.

However, the life-saving operation was bittersweet for the comedian as it “put an end to his and Syd’s double act”, the Daily Mirror says.

Speaking to the paper in 2017, he said: “That phone call to Syd was the most painful I’ve ever had to make. I was crying my eyes out because I knew I was putting him out of work. He had bills to pay.

“I felt horrible. We weren’t just a double act. We were mates, right from the start,” he added. “Syd was living it with me every minute of every day. When we did panto in Wimbledon he spent every day going to pharmacists, buying stuff to help me breathe.”

He had another major health crisis in a hospital

In 2013, Large found himself recovering in hospital after a serious fall near his home – the comedian had reportedly tripped over a road sign close to his home in Portishead, near Bristol.

He was taken to hospital but contracted pneumonia, had pancreatic problems and a collapsed lung, landing him in the high dependency unit.

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