Paul O’Grady’s friend Amanda Mealing reveals late star’s dying wish
Paul O’Grady’s best friend, Amanda Mealing, has spoken about the late star’s final wish for his funeral.
The entertainer died at the age of 67 this week, and his husband Andre Portasio announced the sad news on Wednesday.
He said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul passed away unexpectedly but peacefully last night.”
And actress Amanda, 55, has now spoken out about Paul’s death with those attending his funeral.
she told the Mirror: ‘He just told us to have a good time. He would hate it if everyone was grumpy.
Goodbye: Paul O’Grady’s best friend Amanda Mealing has opened up about the late star’s final wish for his funeral
Whatever happens, Paul’s funeral will be a celebration of his life and filled with laughter.
‘He just told us to have a good time, I’d hate for everyone to be cloying and grumpy. He would just say, “I don’t care, I won’t be here! Do what you want.”
Amanda went on to say that there may be two funerals: one private and one in “a very grand place” for people outside of Paul’s family to attend.
She said there are ongoing discussions, but she expects people to fly in from all over the world to attend the larger ceremony.
Screen star Amanda said she fought back tears when she received a text from Paul’s husband Andre in the early hours of Wednesday morning this week to tell him the star had died.
However, she has since cried happy tears as she recalled and reminisced about funny stories with Paul’s friends and family, which left her laughing out loud.
She said they have been showered with gifts, messages, photos and videos from Paul that fans have taken over the years.
Amanda recounted how she was moved to tears when she was sent a clip recorded at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London, where Paul regularly performed as his transvestite alter ego Lily Savage, where patrons cheered instead of having a moment of silence.
Celebration of life: Actress Amanda, 55, has now spoken about Paul’s death with attendees at his funeral, insisting that she would want people to have fun (pictured in 2005)
‘It was such a lovely gesture to hear all this noise for him. It has been a huge comfort to know that they loved him so much,” he said.
Paul was godfather to Amanda’s children Milo and Otis, and she spoke to him a few days before he died.
She insisted that he was ‘feeling great’ having returned to Thailand and had sent him a plethora of vacation photos.
While Amanda said she was heartbroken for herself that she lost her best friend, she said she feels something different about Paul as he “absolutely drained her life,” adding, “He absolutely got everything he could get and that’s wonderful.”
Amanda is also thankful that Paul died at home with her husband Andre nearby instead of just in a hotel room.
Paul died at the age of 67 this week.
The legendary television host, who rose to fame in the 1990s with her drag queen persona Lily Savage, died “unexpectedly and peacefully” Tuesday night, according to her partner Andre Portasio.
Sad news: The artist died at the age of 67 this week, and her husband Andre Portasio announced the sad news on Wednesday (the couple is pictured here at London’s Royal Opera House in 2018)
He said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that
‘Paul passed away unexpectedly but peacefully last night.
“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals, and all those who enjoyed his humor, wit, and compassion.”
I know he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.
Her longtime radio producer, Malcolm Prince, had visited O’Grady, who had recently toured as Miss Hannigan in the stage musical Annie, at her home in the early afternoon.
He tweeted: “I was so proud of Annie, so happy to be back at Boom Radio, and looking forward to so many new projects.”
And now it’s gone. I can’t believe it. We have lost a unique talent, and I have lost a dear friend.
Paul, who became a BME for Entertainment Services in 2008, began acting as Lily Savage in the 1970s and later launched The Lily Savage Show on the BBC in 1997.
Star quality: Becoming a BME for Entertainment Services in 2008, Paul began acting as Lily Savage in the 1970s (pictured by Blankety Blank)
He revived Blankety Blank until 2002 and then presented a number of chat shows, including ITV’s teatime show The Paul O’Grady Show from 2004 to 2005, then moving to Channel 4.
In 2017, she replaced Cilla Black in Channel 5’s reboot of Blind Date, while over the years she also fronted for ITV’s For The Love of Dogs, which was linked to her role as ambassador for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
He recently left BBC Radio 2 after 14 years, noting at the time that he was unhappy with sharing his Sunday afternoon slot.
He was set to join Boom Radio for Easter Sunday in less than two weeks.