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Tributes to Manning

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2007-06-19

Bernard Manning

Bernard Manning

Members of the Jewish showbiz community have been paying tribute to comedian Bernard Manning, who died on Monday aged 76.

The veteran comedian, from Manchester, who made a name for himself with his no-holds-barred approach to comedy, was both loved and loathed in equal measure.
Death Wish film director Michael Winner described Manning as "the funniest man in the world".
"He was the last of the comedians who put the PC brigade behind him. He took no notice of them and just got on with the job of being funny," he said. "It was ridiculous that he was somewhat ostracised. His audience included all the people that he made jokes about. None of them gave a damn because he was just so funny."
His biographer Jonathan Margolis said Manning was "the last of the joke-tellers".
"I think he'll inevitably become famous for this question of whether he was a racist comedian - and it's a funny thing because it's some way down the list of things he was," he said.
"He was a man of his age - and as people of his age went, he was relatively un-racist. Until his dying day, he didn't understand what all the fuss was about."
Despite being known for his un-PC comedy, Manning himself mixed with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
"I went to his birthday party last year," said comedian and TV presenter Roy Walker I was sat at the table with loads of comedians, and his schoolfriends - Jewish, Asian - I thought it fantastic that he could stay friends with the people he grew up with."
Although he was Catholic, Manning took pride in his claims that his great-great-grandfather was a member of the tribe.
"I'm everything. I get on with everybody," he said. In one interview with a journalist, Manning pointed out the name of his house. "It's called Shalom, that's peace in Jewish."
According to his biographer Jonathan Margolis, his grandfather was named Blomberg, and came from the Ukraine. However, he didn't reveal this until after his biography was published, for fear that there may be some Blomberg relatives who were poor in Philadelphia, and would fly to Manchester to see their millionaire relative.