Des O'Connor, CBE (born Desmond Bernard O'Connor on 12 January 1932) is an English broadcaster and singer. A former talkshow host, he was the presenter of the long running Channel 4 gameshow Countdown for two years. He has also recorded thirty six albums and has had four top ten singles, including a number one with I Pretend.
O'Connor was born on 12 January 1932 in Stepney, London to Maude (née Bassett) and Harry O'Connor. O'Connor has a younger sister, Patricia, who is one year his junior. O'Connor wrote in his autobiography that he is probably the only O'Connor ever to have had a Bar Mitzvah. He was evacuated to Northampton during World War II and was briefly a professional footballer with Northampton Town. After completing his National Service in the Royal Air Force, he worked as a shoe salesman before entering show business. Before his break in television, his first theatre appearances were in variety, where he appeared in venues throughout the country.
He is one of only a handful of British entertainers to be acclaimed internationally on stage and television. On stage he has starred at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, the Sydney Opera House, The O'Keefe Centre, Toronto and has made over 1,000 solo appearances at the London Palladium.
He has met and worked with many personalities of the day, from rock and pop stars, actors and TV performers, to politicians, princes, to luminaries, such as Frank Sinatra, Adam Faith, Sean Connery, Liberace, The Beatles, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Tony Blair, and members of the Royal Family.
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