Stand-up comic and television personality Kelly Monteith, who was one of the first American comedians to have their own BBC show, has died. The news was announced by The Anglophile Channel, a Los Angeles production company with which he collaborated. No cause of death was cited; Monteith was 80.
The comedian made frequent guest appearances on U.S. talk shows in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. In 1976, he hosted The Kelly Monteith Show on CBS and later led the network’s hidden camera prank series, The Hit Squad. He also appeared on The Love Boat, Hollywood Squares and New Love, American Style.
He became popular in the UK after several spots on The Des O’Connor Show which led to him getting his own self-titled sitcom/sketch series on the BBC. Kelly Monteith ran from 1979-1984 and was co-written with Neil Shand. In 1983, he took part in the Royal Variety Performance, performing for Queen Elizabeth II.
For The Anglophile Channel, which is dedicated to British culture and entertainment, Monteith co-hosted Brit Flix with Kelly, Paul and Two-Buck Chuck from 2014-2020 and Kelly Monteith’s BBC Memories from 2019-2000. The latter was a look back his groundbreaking BBC series.
In 2015, he and Paul Boland received the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award for Best Television Anchor/Host from the Los Angeles Press Club.
According to BBC News, Jay Leno once described Monteith as a comedian who was “always extremely clever, extremely funny. One of the benchmarks. For those of us of a certain generation, Kelly was the guy.”