Ronnie Corbett was a legendary comedian and actor who was well known for his self-deprecating humor and references to his height, or lack thereof, in his work. Man Scotts, 5ft 1in (155cm), who was promoted to New Years 2012 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to entertainment and charity, is known for his work on The Two Ronnies (1971-1987), The Frost Report (1966-1967) and Pardon! (1981-1988). Join us as we take a look back at his life and career, as well as the circumstances surrounding his passing.

Youth and career

Ronnie Corbett was born Ronald Balfour Corbett, the first of three children with Annie Elizabeth (née Main) and William Balfour Corbett, on December 4, 1930 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her mother was a housewife while her father was a master baker.

Corbett was educated at JamesGillespie’s High School and the Royal High School in Edinburgh. After graduating from high school, he chose not to go to college, as he began a career in acting. He started out performing in amateur theaters at a church youth club, after getting a job with the Ministry of Agriculture. For his compulsory national service, he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) where he was appointed pilot officer as a pilot in the secretariat. His period of active service ended on October 28, 1951, when he was transferred to the reserves. About a year later, on September 6, 1952, he was promoted to air force officer. Since then, he has remained the smallest officer in the British forces.

After completing his national service, Ronnie Corbett pursued his dream of acting by moving to London. Due to his size, he was mostly able to land youth roles, as one of his first regular roles was on the BBC children’s television series, Crackerjack! (1957-1958). He went on to star in films like You’re Only Young Twice (1952) and Rockets Galore! (1957) before appearing at the Theater Royal, Drury Lane produced the musical The Boys from Syracuse in 1963. Casino Royale (1967), The Freeze Report (1966–67), Some Will, Some Won’t (1970) and No Sex Please, We’re British(1973).

In 1971 Ronnie Corbett and his longtime collaborator Ronnie Barker, with whom he first appeared on The Frost Report, began appearing on the BBC comedy sketch show The Two Ronnies (1971- 1987). The show turned out to be Corbett’s best-known work, but he is known for his work on the sitcom Pardon! (1981-1988).

In 2005, Corbett reunited with Barker for the Two Ronnies sketchbook. The following year, he played a hyper-realized version of himself in the BBC and HBO co-produced sitcom Extras (2006). Her next starring role was in the comedy-thriller Burke and Hare (2010). Around the same time he was also a member of the BBC 1 comedy panel, Would I lie to you?, as he also hosted the Good Food HD program Ronnie Corbett’s Supper Club

Ronnie Corbett family – wife and children

In 1966, while working for Irish singer Danny LaRonnie Corbett, a Mayfair Street nightclub, met his wife, actress and dancer Anne Hart. The two married the same year, May 30, 1966 to be exact, and had three children; son Andrew and daughters Emma and Sophie. Andrew, who was born with a heart defect, died aged six weeks at St Thomas’s Hospital, London. Her sisters Emma and Sophie then had an acting career.

Corbett and his wife had been married for 49 years until his death in 2016.

Death: when, where and how did he die?

In March 2015, Ronnie Corbett was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Almost exactly a year after his diagnosis, on March 31, 2016, the actor and comedian died at Shirley Oaks Hospital in Shirley, London, surrounded by his family. He was 85 years old.

A funeral service by family and friends was held in his honor at St John the Evangelist Church in Shirley on April 18, 2016. His remains were cremated after a private service at Croydon Crematorium, London. He is survived by his wife of nearly 5 decades and his children.