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Wednesday, December 16, 1998 Published at 17:15 GMT


Celebrities say farewell to Grade

Lord Grade would have been 92 on Christmas Day

Impresario Lord Grade has been laid to rest in a simple funeral attended by close friends and family.

Hundreds of top actors and television stars gathered at the Jewish cemetery in Willesden, north west London, for Wednesday's ceremony.

The the popular impresario died from heart failure early on Sunday at a London hospital, aged 91. His wife Kathie and other family members were at his bedside.

Tributes flooded in from around the world for the entertainment mogul who was responsible for some of television's most famous post-war programmes including The Muppet Show and Crossroads, and the force behind some of the biggest films.

[ image: Roger Moore: Close friend]
Roger Moore: Close friend
Among the showbusiness figures were close friend and former James Bond star Roger Moore, TV producer and former Channel 4 head Sir Jeremy Isaacs, film director Lord Puttnam and media group chief Lord Rothermere.

Lord Grade was buried alongside his brothers Bernard, the late Lord Delfont, and Leslie Grade.

Leslie was the father of former Channel 4 boss Michael Grade, who was at the front of the procession.

Lord Grade, famed for the trademark cigar clenched between his teeth, would have celebrated his 92nd birthday on Christmas Day.

[ image: Michael Grade: Led the procession at his uncle's funeral]
Michael Grade: Led the procession at his uncle's funeral
In his address at Wednesday's funeral, Rabbi Albert Friedlander said: "It is hard for us to realise that the film has come to an end.

"The final credits have flickered across the screen, and the lights go on in the theatre.

"We sit here and rub our eyes, almost in disbelief.

"Lew Grade has ended his final, greatest production - the story of his life. How can this be? "Only last week, he was still at his desk at 7am planning the next film."

Rabbi Friedlander paid tribute to Lord Grade, describing him as "irreplaceable, the greatest, warmest man of his time".

He said that despite the mixed reception that Lord Grade's film Raise The Titanic received in 1982, he still remained one of the biggest players in the entertainment industry.

He ended the eulogy by saying: "There are no residuals in heaven. But our tradition reminds us that life is unending, that 'the stars go down to shine upon another shore' and that nothing, nothing, is lost."

A memorial service for Lord Grade is expected to be held in March.

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