Comedy agent Addison Cresswell dies aged 53

Jack Dee, Michael McIntyre and Jonathan Ross Jack Dee, Michael McIntyre and Jonathan Ross were among Cresswell's clients

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Influential comedy agent Addison Cresswell, who played a key role in the careers of Jonathan Ross, Jack Dee and others, has died at the age of 53.

According to a statement from his Off the Kerb management company, the agent and producer "passed away in his sleep at home" on Monday.

It said he would be "fondly remembered as a devoted mentor, a dear friend and an unforgettable character".

Comedian Dara O Briain is among those to have tweeted their condolences.

"Deeply saddened and shocked by the loss of Addison Creswell," he wrote. "A good friend and a tremendous character; he will leave an unfillable void."

Actor James Corden remembered him as "an incredible man", while presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell said he was a "great agent" and "a force of nature".

Regarded as one of the most influential figures in British comedy, the agent brokered Jonathan Ross's £18m three-year deal with the BBC in 2006.

He also produced such shows as Alan Carr's Chatty Man and Live at the Apollo though his Open Mike company.

Born in 1960, Cresswell started out as entertainments officer at Brighton Polytechnic. His first client was the poet John Hegley and he began his business working from his kitchen table.

He went on to manage some of the biggest names in comedy including Jo Brand, Lee Evans and Michael McIntyre.

Known as a shrewd businessman, his dealings at the Edinburgh Festival once saw him described as "the Darth Vader of the Fringe".

He was also an active charity campaigner, initiating and organising Channel 4's annual comedy gala in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

In a statement, Channel 4's chief creative officer Jay Hunt said he was "an industry legend... an incredibly decent man and a loyal friend".

According to the Radio Times, the "charismatic and colourful" agent had a heart attack on Monday morning.

Cresswell's spokesman said he was "survived by his beloved wife Shelley, his dogs Bonnie and Nessie and many, many pet fish".

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