Addison Cresswell, the UK's top comedy agent, has died

Monday 23rd December 2013 @ 5:27pm by Aaron

Addison Cresswell. One of the most influential people in British comedy, agent Addison Cresswell, has died.

A hugely powerful and successful promoter, Cresswell set up talent management company Off The Kerb, and was the mastermind behind the careers of many of British comedy's best known stand-up comedians, including Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre, Alan Carr and Jack Dee.

A statement released by his company confirmed the news: "Agent, producer and charity fundraiser Addison Cresswell passed away in his sleep at home last night at the age of 53.

"Widely considered to be one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry, his clients included Jack Dee, Lee Evans, Jonathan Ross, Alan Carr, Michael McIntyre, Dara O Briain and Sean Lock.

"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.

"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 is survived by his beloved wife, Shelley, his dogs Bonnie and Nessie and many, many pet fish."

It is understood that Cresswell suffered a heart attack in his sleep last night, Sunday 22nd/Monday 23rd December 2013.

Addison Cresswell began representing comedians in 1981, initially working from his kitchen table. However, Off The Kerb has now grown into one of the biggest comedy agencies in the country, with a TV production arm - Open Mike - behind many hit TV formats.

Cresswell has acted as an executive producer for many of the company's titles, including Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Stand Up For The Week, Alan Carr: Chatty Man, Edinburgh Comedy Fest Live and The Last Leg, as well as scripted formats such as Jack Dee's Lead Balloon.

In summer 2012, comedy website Such Small Portions named Cresswell the single most influential person in British comedy.

Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. Jonathan Ross. Image credit: Hot Sauce.Cresswell was widely regarded as a shrewd businessman, and was the man who, in 2006, negotiated the controversial £18m golden handcuffs deal between Jonathan Ross (pictured) and the BBC.

In a 2008 Guardian profile, the then head of Channel 4 said of Cresswell: "You can judge how effective and how good agents are by the long-term relationships they have with their clients. In other words, is their client base always changing or not? Addison has managed to keep his clients for a very long time, which is an indication how good he is for them.

"With broadcasters, he can be volatile - but my experience with him is that he is straight, and you always have the feeling that he has his client's best interests at heart. He has an understanding of television, and is a hard negotiator but also fair."

Whilst being very well known within the comedy industry, and often described as a "larger than life character", Cresswell was also a private individual who shunned the spotlight. Few press photographs of him exist.

Many leading names have taken to Twitter this evening to express their shock and dismay at news of his death.

Simon Evans, one of Cresswell's acts, posted: "Very hard to accept that Addison Cresswell is gone. Very hard indeed. To say RIP seems almost disrespectful to his whole approach to life."

Shappi Khorsandi ‏said: "I adored my manager Addison Cresswell. Am so shocked and saddened by his sudden death. He'd fight tigers for his acts. Irreplaceable."

Adam Hills posted: "Devastated by the loss of my manager, friend and champion Addison Cresswell. He can never be replaced. Love you loads. Ad x"

Jack Whitehall added: "Sad news about Addison Cresswell last time I saw him was last week giving me a bear hug as I came off stage. An amazing character we've lost."

Stephen Fry said: "Oh goodness, I've just heard about Addison Cresswell a larger than life impresario manager. My deepest sympathy to all his family & friends."

Kenton Allen, boss of production company Big Talk, said: "Please can someone tell me the Addison Cresswell news is nonsense? He's been a beacon of light in my life for over 30 years." He later added: "So it's true. You truly knew you were alive if you were lucky enough to spend time with Addison. Going for a walk now..."

Agent Vivienne Clore commented: "Truely tragic news. Addison Cresswell RIP... He will leave a huge gap in comedy and always have a place in comedians' hearts."

Horrible Histories producer Caroline Norris tweeted: "Terribly sad news about Addison Cresswell. A huge loss to the world of comedy."

Jenny Eclair added: "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."

 

Latest News

Holly Willoughby to host new ITV panel show

Holly Willoughby to host new ITV panel show

Holly Willoughby has signed up to present Play To The Whistle, a new comedy panel show for ITV focused on the world of sport.

ITV2 to show Keith Lemon's Back To The Future Tribute

ITV2 to show Keith Lemon's Back To The Future Tribute

The character Keith Lemon is to star in a one-off special on ITV2 celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first Back To The Future film.

Comedy Central reveal Russell Howard's new show

Comedy Central reveal Russell Howard's new show

Russell Howard's Stand Up Central, which launches in April, will feature guests including Doc Brown, Katherine Ryan and Joe Wilkinson.

BBC Two orders Charlie Brooker election special

BBC Two orders Charlie Brooker election special

Charlie Brooker will return to BBC Two in the run-up to the May General Election with a new Wipe special focusing on the political campaign.

Filming starts on Series 7 of Doc Martin

Filming starts on Series 7 of Doc Martin

Martin Clunes and the rest of the Doc Martin cast are now in Cornwall to film Series 7 of the hit ITV comedy drama.

Frankie Boyle to return to iPlayer with post-election special

Frankie Boyle to return to iPlayer with post-election special

Frankie Boyle will follow the popularity of his 2014 Scottish independence referendum special with a new iPlayer programme about the May General Election.

Get More News

In The Press

In The Press

The latest press clippings from the newspapers and various internet blogs.

Newsletter

Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list to get news and more in your inbox every Monday.

Twitter

Twitter Feed

You can follow us on Twitter too. We post the latest news and gossip every evening.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Subscribe to our RSS feed to get our headlines in your news reader software.

Ray Peacock: taboo comedy

Ray Peacock: taboo comedy

Ray Peacock explains why he has decided to open up about his suicide attempt in his latest stand-up show. Read

Dad's Army only just made

Dad's Army only just made

A speech by TV executive Huw Wheldon revealed that the BBC nearly didn't make the Dad's Army series. Read

Graham Fellows interview

Graham Fellows interview

Graham Fellows will celebrate his 30th year as John Shuttleworth with a big gig - but could it be his last hurrah? Read

Laura Aikman interview

Laura Aikman interview

Laura Aikman talks about joining the cast of Bluestone 42, and how she was 'liquid sweat' filming the show. Read

Nathan Caton interview

Nathan Caton interview

Stand-up comedian Nathan Caton talks to us about various topics, including his ideal comedians football squad. Read

Images from '50 Comics'

Images from '50 Comics'

Check out some striking pictures from photographer Matt Crockett's book of comedian portraits, 50 Comics. View

Milton Jones interview

Milton Jones interview

Milton Jones talks about big hair, bad shirts, Mock The Week, his mammoth 2015 tour and other topics too: Read

Raised By Wolves interview

Raised By Wolves interview

Sisters Caitlin Moran and Caroline Moran talk about creating Raised By Wolves, their Channel 4 sitcom. Interview

Learn improv in London

Learn improv in London

A group of established comedians have set up a new theatre company and school - one devoted entirely to improv. Read

Enter Amused Moose comp

Enter Amused Moose comp

Entry is now open for the 2015 Amused Moose Laugh Off, a stand-up comedy competition for new acts. Read

Phoenix Nights cast

Phoenix Nights cast

We take a look back at what the Phoenix Nights cast have been doing since the sitcom ended in 2002. Read