Comedy world pays tribute to agent whose clients included scores of stars, including Jonathan Ross, Jack Dee and Jo Brand
Tuesday 24 December 2013 13.30 GMT
Addison Cresswell, the comedy agent who represented many well known stars including Lee Evans, Jack Dee and Jonathan Ross, has died at the age of 53.
A spokesman said the agent and producer died in his sleep at home on Sunday night. The spokesman said he is survived by his beloved wife, Shelley, his dogs Bonnie and Nessie and many, many pet fish.
One of the most influential people in British comedy, Cresswell – unlike many agents – liked to leave the limelight to the scores of stars he represented.
He started his management company Off the Kerb 32 years ago, working from his kitchen table after a period as entertainments officer at Brighton Polytechnic, where he studied. Other clients included Jo Brand, Dara O Briain and Alan Carr.
Many of the comedians he worked with spoke of their shock and recalled the contribution he made to their careers, as well as his extrovert personality.
Jon Plowman, the producer of scores of BBC comedies including 2012 and Little Britain, said Cresswell had revolutionised British comedy and launched and supported countless careers. "He had boundless energy which was devoted to helping the careers of people he was enthusiastic about. Lots of comedians owe their exposure to him. It's impossible to imagine Lee Evans for example without Cresswell in the mix," he said."He was one of the people who decided that comedy was going to be the new rock and roll and he was determined to price it high to the TV channels and get big audiences."
Jenny Eclair tweeted: "Stunned and shocked by news of Addison Cresswell's death, he was there at the beginning for so many of us, love to his family and friends."
Ash Atalla, who produced The Office, said: "The fact that you once threatened to hit me will only make me miss you more. RIP'"
James Corden tweeted: "Such sad news about Addison Cresswell. An incredible man. An incredible talent. May he rest in peace x."
Omid Djalili tweeted: "Shocking news about Addison Cresswell. 52. Way too young. I miss the headlocks already RIP".
The spokesman said: "Addison will be fondly remembered by all whose lives he touched as a devoted mentor, a dear friend and an unforgettable character. He will be sorely missed.
"He leaves behind a proud legacy in his tireless charity work, initiating and organising the annual Channel 4 Comedy Gala in aid of Great Ormond Street hospital. It was his dearest wish to raise enough to fund the opening of a brand new wing of the hospital, a goal that is now in sight."
He was listed at number 68 in the Media Guardian 100 in 2010. He was described as: "Agent, producer and deal-maker extraordinaire, Cresswell was responsible for Ross's infamous three-year contract with the BBC worth almost £6m a year. Legend has it Cresswell was spotted celebrating the deal burning money at the bar of Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms."
Cresswell preferred his stars to be in the spotlight rather than himself although the BBC hoped he could rival Simon Cowell on a projected talent show.
Cresswell also produced shows through his company, Open Mike Productions, including a series starring Michael McIntyre, another of his clients.
Cresswell once said: "I don't see us as in any way different from the people who run the channels. They're complete bastards as well, but we all have to work with each other."
Cresswell set up his first production company, Wonderdog Productions, with Julian Clary and Paul Merton, and Clary's Channel 4 show Sticky Moments was one of his first big hits.
Born: 6/28/1960 Brighton, East Sussex, England, U.K.
Died: 12/22/2013, London, England, U.K.
Addison Cresswell’s westerns – producer:
How the West Was Lost - 2008
Rich Hall's Inventing the Indian - 2012