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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 13:32 GMT


Rod Hull dies in rooftop fall

Rod Hull and Emu: Their antics entertained generations of children

The entertainer Rod Hull has died in an accident at his home in East Sussex.

The 63-year-old - who entertained generations of children with his double act with Emu - fell off the roof of his cottage while adjusting his TV aerial.

He was declared dead on arrival at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.

The BBC's Lisa Holland looks back at Rod Hull's career
Hull was adjusting his TV aerial in an attempt to improve the picture as he watched Manchester United's football match against Inter Milan.

His agent Laurie Mansfield said: "We're not 100% certain what happened but what we do know is that he was watching the football.

"The picture was bad and he went up on the roof to adjust it and fell off.

"What they're not too sure about is the possibility that he might have had a heart attack, either while he was up there or after he fell."

'A unique entertainer'

[ image: Rod Hull and Emu famously got the better of Michael Parkinson]
Rod Hull and Emu famously got the better of Michael Parkinson
Hull was well known for the attacks his puppet launched against TV celebrities, including a notorious appearance on the Michael Parkinson show in the 1970s.

Michael Parkinson paid tribute to Hull as "a gentle man", but joked that he had a sinister side - his puppet.

"I am very sad to hear of Rod's death. He was a very charming, intelligent and sensitive man - quite unlike the Emu.

"The Emu was the dark side of Rod's personality, and very funny, provided it was not on top of you.

[ image: Michael Parkinson: Rod Hull was a
Michael Parkinson: Rod Hull was a "gentle man and an endearing companion"
"He was a gentle man and a very endearing companion. He made me laugh an awful lot and we will sorely miss him."

Comedian Jim Davidson called Hull "a unique entertainer".

He added: "He was a great friend and was always ready to help and support a cause."

Entertainer Rolf Harris said: "I worked with Rod quite a lot, we shared the same agency for many years and he came to Canada to guest on my show there.

"He was a creative character, a sweet person and a very good friend. We shall all miss him."

Talent nurtured in Australia

Entertainment commentator Rick Sky: "He made brilliant, brilliant television"
Rod Hull was born on the Isle of Sheppey in 1936 and spent much of his childhood there. He left Britain for Australia in the 1960s to pursue a career on the stage and in TV.

It was in Australia he developed the character of his sidekick Emu. On his return to Britain in 1970 both he and Emu became popular TV entertainers.

In the late 1980s Hull bought an Elizabethan house in Rochester - but went bankrupt renovating it and the house was repossessed.

He lived in East Sussex with his 19-year-old son Oliver.

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18 Mar 99 | UK
Obituary: The man behind Emu