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Lionel Blair
Born Henry Lionel Blair Ogus
12 December 1931 (1931-12-12) (age 78)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948-present[1]

Lionel Blair (born Henry Lionel Blair Ogus 12 December 1931, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) is a British actor, choreographer, tap dancer and television presenter. He is the son of Myer Ogus and Deborah (Della) Greenbaum. His father was a Russian barber; he changed the family name to Blair in his youth.



Blair came to Britain when he was one, with his first public performances with his sister Joyce (born 1932) in London Underground Station shelters during World War II. He attended the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford in 1944, followed by London's West End. He gave up acting for dancing in 1947.

Blair's camp image came to the fore in the 1960s, when, with his dance troupe, he appeared on television variety programmes. He also appeared in films A Hard Day's Night and Absolute Beginners, cameoed in an episode of The Persuaders! and in television comedy, including the short film, The Plank. In addition, he choreographed films such as Jazz Boat (1960) and The Magic Christian (1969).

Lionel Blair's handprints in Bath, UK

Blair is known for being one of the team captains on the gameshow Give Us a Clue from 1979 until the early 1990s and for being the second presenter of the British version of Name That Tune in the 1980s. His skills on Give Us A Clue are mocked in the introduction to Sound Charades on BBC Radio 4's similarly-named comedy show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, normally by double entendre. In one episode the host, Humphrey Lyttelton, introduced the game: "The expert's expert was, of course, Lionel Blair. Who could ever forget opposing team captain, Una Stubbs, sitting open-mouthed as he tried to pull off Twelve Angry Men in under two minutes?"

In 2005, he was one of the celebrities taking part in the Channel Five reality series, The Farm.

He was in the news in 2006 when his pet dog Florence was apparently kidnapped in Surrey. The cross-breed collie disappeared when Blair's wife took her for a walk in a park in Ewell near the couple's home.[1][2]

On 21 September 2006, Blair and comedian Alan Carr helped save a man about to fall from a pier in Blackpool. The man was holding on by his fingers .[3]

Blair appeared in the 2007 Christmas special of the Ricky Gervais show Extras, as himself, portraying the end-stages of his showbiz career by trying to keep up his profile by appearing on Celebrity Big Brother alongside Lisa Scott-Lee and X Factor contestant Chico.

Blair and wife Susan celebrated their ruby wedding in March 2007. They have three children and two grandchildren. He is the brother of the late British actress Joyce Blair, with whom he sometimes appeared.

Blair currently holds the World Record for the number of Jazz (apple)s eaten during the Miles Davis song 'Budo' [1], consuming 7 apples in 2 minutes 30 seconds.

From 31 May, Blair will be a participant in 'Celebrity Plumbing' on BBC 3, hosted by Paul Shane.



  • "Still clued-up after 60 years", The Post, 3 December 2008

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