Hugh Lennon obituary

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My buddy Hugh Lennon, who has died aged 77, was a magician, mentalist, daredevil and grasp of “the world’s solely hypnotic canine”.

After I met him on the Edinburgh pageant within the mid-Nineties, the place he carried out a number of sell-out exhibits and gained a cult following, Hugh was everywhere in the tabloids. Oscar the “Hypnodog” had escaped their flat and was now roaming the streets of Edinburgh. Hugh informed journalists he was terrified the canine, a black labrador retriever, would begin randomly hypnotising individuals. In fact, as solely to be anticipated from a grasp publicist and eager sensible joker, this was not fairly true. Oscar was again on the flat watching tv. However Hugh’s story ran for days.

Born within the city of Beau Bassin-Rose Hill on the island of Mauritius, to Gladys (nee Simpson) and Franz Lennon, who labored on the tax workplace, Hugh went to a close-by Catholic school. In 1964, Hugh’s youngest sister, Sheila, wanted medical therapy unavailable in Mauritius and the household moved to Stoke Newington, in north London.

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Oscar the Hypnodog together with his grasp, Hugh Lennon. {Photograph}: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Hugh’s early jobs included cartographer’s assistant, multilingual switchboard operator on the Common Publish Workplace, and demonstrating magic tips at Hamleys toy store, having developed an early fascination with card tips.

This ardour would result in him performing his personal magic exhibits in working males’s golf equipment across the UK within the Nineteen Sixties, earlier than a change to mind-reading within the 70s, and a aspect hustle as a movie further, together with as a stormtrooper within the first Star Wars movie. Later, whereas in and round Gibraltar within the mid-80s, he additionally tried his hand at daredevilry, performing the “blindfolded moped drive” to nice acclaim.

However it was his transfer to hypnosis within the 80s that proved essential, discovering the distinctive comedy act that will take him from Leeds and Studying festivals to the stage of the Comedy Retailer in London. After claiming sooner or later to have stumbled throughout a misplaced pet with magic powers someplace in Yorkshire, collectively they grew to become Hugh Lennon and Oscar the Hypnodog.

In 2001, after 12 years of performing, Oscar’s eyesight failed and he was not capable of maintain the penetrating stare needed for stage hypnosis. Hugh then found that one in every of Oscar’s sons, Murphy, shared the identical unbelievable magic powers.

Hugh settled within the city of Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf. He continued to work as a hypnotist and thoughts reader till his retirement within the early 2010s.

Hugh was identified to all as loyal, beneficiant and humorous. He stored dozens of handwritten notebooks, containing nothing however jokes collected over many years that made him – and everybody round him – giggle. He made associates simply, and made certain he stored them.

In 1969 he married Margaret Owen. That marriage resulted in divorce, however they reconciled in later life till her loss of life in 2008. Two sisters, Sheila and Kathleen, predeceased him. He’s survived by his youngsters with Margaret, Simon and Katie, 4 grandchildren, Alfie, Eliza, Tegan and Leah, and his sisters Patricia and Eileen.

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