Paul O’Grady honored by Craig Revel Horwood in first Annie show

Annie returned to the stage after the shocking news of the loss of Paul O’Grady (Picture: REX)

The cast of Annie paid tribute Paul O’Grady in their first show after his death.

News of O’Grady’s death shocked the nation last week, as the beloved entertainer passed away unexpectedly at the age of 67.

His husband, Andre Portasio, confirmed the devastating news in a statement, saying at the time: ‘It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul passed away unexpectedly but peacefully last night.

“We ask, at this difficult time, that as you celebrate his life, you also respect our privacy as we process this loss.

He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all who enjoyed his wit, wit and compassion.

“I know he would like me to thank you for all the love you’ve shown him over the years.”

Craig Revel Horwood paid tribute to the late star in an emotional moment (Picture: Annie The Musical)

Annie co-star Craig Revel Horwood said he was ‘blooming in disbelief’ at his death, having shared the role of Miss Hannigan with the Blind Date star.

The performance was canceled out of respect for O’Grady, but now an audience member has confirmed that an emotional moment took place at the first Birmingham show.

“After the final bows, Craig Revel Horwood addressed the audience and said they would like to dedicate this and every performance to the legend Paul O’Grady,” said David Jack.

“There were people in the audience crying and shouting, ‘We love you, Paul!’ Some of the cast looked emotional, but the performance under the circumstances was excellent, especially from the young cast.”

He added that the Strictly Come Dancing judge actually found it difficult to form his words when he paid tribute to his friend and co-actor.

“You saw how he choked as he said what he did. I think his emotion made it hard for him to speak.’

There has been an outpouring of love for O’Grady, with thousands of pounds donated to charity in his honor (Photo: Ken McKay/REX/Shutterstock)
A friend of the Lily Savage entertainer also shared his wish for his funeral to be a ‘good time’ (Picture: PA)

After news of O’Grady’s death broke, the 58-year-old dancer said: “I was in a state of shock this morning when I woke up to the news that my wonderful colleague and friend, Paul O’Grady, has passed away.

‘I’m actually in disbelief. He was such a great person, funny and to the point. Paul, legend, RIP darling.’

Since then there has been an outpouring of love for the Liverpudlian TV star, who was included in the In Memoriam package at the 2023 Olivier Awards this weekend.

Donations to Battersea Cats and Dogs home also have since crossed the £200,000 mark, as the house was a favorite throughout O’Grady’s lifetime.

His friends have also shared fond memories of him, with best friend actress Amanda Mealing, 55, revealing his wish for his funeral to be a “good time.”

“Whatever happens, Paul’s funeral will be a celebration of his life and there will be plenty of laughter.

“He just said we should have fun – he’d hate it if everyone was mawkish and gloomy. He would just say, “I don’t care, I won’t be here! Do what you want,” she said The mirror.

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