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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Barrymore's turbulent life
Michael Barrymore in 1989
Barrymore was one of the highest-paid comics on TV
The inquest verdict on the death of Stuart Lubbock - found in a swimming pool at Michael Barrymore's house on 31 March 2001 - closes another turbulent episode in the life of the entertainer, who is seldom out of the newspaper headlines.

Barrymore's showbusiness career has seen him struggle with a troubled private life and a battle with drink and drugs.

Born Michael Parker in 1952, he changed his surname after reading a book about actors Lionel and John Barrymore.

Stuart Lubbock
"I'm sorry for Stuart, he didn't deserve to die," said Barrymore
His childhood in Bermondsey, south-east London, was marred by unhappiness.

His father left home when Barrymore was 11.

He left school at 15 and worked as a Butlin's Redcoat and, back in London, in the toy department of Selfridges department store on Oxford Street.

But his career only took off under the guidance of his wife Cheryl, who he met when she was a dancer in a West End show. They married in 1976.

Making a name for himself on TV shows including the BBC's Get Set Go and ITV's Strike It Lucky, Barrymore became known as something of a workaholic - and in time, one of the best paid comics on TV.


After years of rumours, Barrymore announced he was gay in 1995 in an extraordinary late night radio interview and subsequently moved out of the home he had shared with Cheryl - his manager and wife of 20 years.

After his public admission, he became active on the gay scene, but apparently tormented by his sexuality, he was to go through several failed reunions with Cheryl.

In interviews he admitted he was confused and thought he was cracking up.

Michael Barrymore
He made his name on TV quiz shows
"I chase around all the time trying to find the high I get on stage," he once said.

His career took a downturn in the mid-1990s when viewing figures slumped on his variety shows.

But London Weekend Television introduced him to new ventures, and he presented My Kind of Music and Kids Do The Funniest Things.

He even tried his hand at acting in the TV series Bob Martin.


But controversy was never far away - in 2000 he was warned by police over a quantity of drugs which were found in the hotel room in which he was staying.

Early in 2001 he reportedly appeared drunk on stage at a fundraising event for a children's charity at a London hotel.

His latest round of troubles began when Stuart Lubbock, 31, died in hospital on Saturday 31 March 2001 after being found unconscious in a swimming pool at the entertainer's home in Roydon, Essex.

Cheryl and Michael Barrymore
He attempted several reconciliations with his wife Cheryl
The next day Barrymore checked into the Marchwood Priory in Southampton, a clinic commonly used by celebrities battling addictions and depression.

In June 2001, a spokeswoman for London Weekend Television denied newspaper reports that Barrymore had been dropped from Kids Say The Funniest Things.

Barrymore was again questioned by police on 6 June 2001 on suspicion of drugs offences, and released on bail without charge.

Police also carried out a detailed forensic search at Barrymore's house.

In the summer ITV put Barrymore's upcoming series Kids Say the Funniest Things on hold, but said it would not abandon the star.

The channel said it would not broadcast a new series until the police investigation was over, as a mark of "human dignity".


But worse was to come for Barrymore. In September his mother Margaret died aged 89 from throat cancer.

On 11 October 2001 police officially cautioned Barrymore for possessing cannabis and for allowing premises to be used for the smoking of cannabis.

Later in October Barrymore spoke publicly for the first time about the events.

Interviewed by journalist Martin Bashir, Barrymore said: "I can't imagine how Stuart Lubbock's family are feeling.

Michael Barrymore
He is said to have had more treatment for alcohol and drugs problems
"I'm terribly sorry, I'm sorry for Stuart, he didn't deserve to die."

"I didn't know how it happened or what happened, to this day I don't know what happened to him," he added.

There was better news on 23 October, when Barrymore won a National Television Award for his show My Kind Of Music - seen by many as a public vote of confidence in the star.

The following month he was signed up by LWT for a further series of the show.

In March 2002 detectives said no charges would be brought over the death of Mr Lubbock, though a file had been prepared for the coroner.

Barrymore is understood to have been undergoing further treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction during the period since the party.

So far the entertainer has managed to bounce back from personal and career reverses.

It remains to be seen whether Barrymore will manage the feat again.

In the meantime, his career prospects lie in the balance.

On Friday, an ITV spokesman said: "We will review the situation in due course but it's clearly inappropriate for us to comment any further at this stage."

See also:

12 Sep 02 | England
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