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'The world will be a lot duller and a sadder place:' Tributes paid to international entertainer Kenny Cantor

PUBLISHED: 16:10 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 10 September 2019

Local entertainer Kenny Cantor gives a talk to the clowns at the Seagull Theatre.

Local entertainer Kenny Cantor gives a talk to the clowns at the Seagull Theatre.

Tributes have been paid to an entertainer, fundraiser and comedian who performed around the world and hosted a TV quiz show.

A past Prince Rat, and an active member of the showbiz charitable organisation the Grand Order of Water Rats, as well as being a former president of the Lowestoft Rotary Club, Kenny Cantor has died, aged 81.

Born in Leicester in November 1938, Mr Cantor was the fifth generation of comedy performers.

The son of entertainers Adele and Terry Cantor, he first appeared in a circus ring when he was just four.

In his teens Mr Cantor was an accomplished acrobat, juggler and clown - but he followed his father Terry into a life in variety.

Kenny Cantor as ‘Buttons’  in the 1960s. Picture: Courtesy of the Cantor familyKenny Cantor as ‘Buttons’ in the 1960s. Picture: Courtesy of the Cantor family

His lifetime in showbusiness saw him hit the stage at the London Palladium, host Play Your Cards Right in New Zealand and work with entertainers including Frankie Vaughan, Val Doonican and Sir Harry Secombe.

Mr Cantor also performed in more than 50 pantomimes and appeared in Royal shows.

His wife Caron, who was a dancer, accompanied Kenny and choreographed many cruise ship productions around the world.

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They were asked to take over a Kessingland holiday centre for two weeks - and such was their impact that they went on to remain in the area living near Lowestoft ever since.

The Cantor's family has successfully run theatre schools for thousands of young people across Waveney since 1981.

Heartfelt tributes were paid by friend, former councillor and fellow former Rotary president Brian Hunter.

Mr Hunter - who had visited Mr Cantor in hospital last week - said: "It is such sad news.

In 2017, Kenny Cantor was installed as president of the Rotary Club of Lowestoft for a second time. Photo: Courtesy of Rotary Club of Lowestoft.In 2017, Kenny Cantor was installed as president of the Rotary Club of Lowestoft for a second time. Photo: Courtesy of Rotary Club of Lowestoft.

"Kenny was a very dear friend of ours and this is a real shock.

"What Kenny Cantor gave to Rotary was a spirit of entertainment, a spirit of charity.

"He promoted Rotary wherever he could and was true to the core value of providing service above self - certainly Kenny did that, and more.

He added: "The world of entertainment will be a lot duller and a sadder place."

Cast members included Ian Larkin, Steve Hewlett, Dave Brock, Ian Richards, Kenny Cantor, Kevin Dean and Chas McDevitt. Picture: The Grand Order of the Water Rats.Cast members included Ian Larkin, Steve Hewlett, Dave Brock, Ian Richards, Kenny Cantor, Kevin Dean and Chas McDevitt. Picture: The Grand Order of the Water Rats.

Numerous tributes have been paid on Mr Cantor's Facebook page as they pay respects to "one of the legends," hailing "a great entertainer" who will be sadly missed.

Norwich Theatre Royal Tweeted: "All of us are sending our thoughts to the family and friends of East Anglian entertainer Kenny Cantor, who has sadly died."

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