SINGAPORE: Ventriloquist Victor Khoo died on Friday (June 6) morning at age 63, after battling cancer for years.
Mr Khoo was a well-known local and international entertainer, and was a voice that many Singaporeans grew up with, via the radio show “Happy Talk” on Saturday mornings. He was most famous for his ventriloquist act with his puppet Charlee.
His family released a statement, lauding his pioneering work, and saying “even at the end, he had a smile and squeeze of the hand for us and all who visited.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on Facebook that he was very sad to learn that Mr Khoo had died, and said he would be missed by many Singaporeans.
Mr Lee recounted that Mr Khoo often performed at events he attended, and that he always enjoyed the shows.
But he noted: “Victor was more than an entertainer. He contributed to society in many ways. After his first wife died several years ago, he did good work to support the breast cancer cause.”
Jazz musician Jeremy Monteiro also paid tribute to Mr Khoo on Facebook, calling him the best “multi-disciplined entertainer in Singapore”. He says they saw a lot of each other in the late 70s to mid-90s. “He was a consummate professional and a really good guy.”
The Khoo family’s statement is reproduced below.
From the family of the late Victor Khoo:
“We are sad to announce that our dear husband, father, brother and uncle, Victor Khoo, passed away peacefully early this morning. He had fought bravely against cancer for some years. He was 63 years old.
Many people remember Victor for the huge impact he had on the entertainment scene, in Singapore and abroad. He was a pioneer in so many ways, from his early days in Rediffusion, to his defining corporate events, to film making, and of course his iconic work with Charlee – whom he always considered a business partner. He played a major role in the evolution of numerous aspects of the live entertainment scene. His jokes are still being retold at events today.
We remember him for his generosity, his wit, his unfailing optimism, and his warmth and affection. He always had time for his family and close friends. Even at the end, he had a smile and a squeeze of the hand for us and all who visited.
Victor leaves behind his sons Barry (and his wife, Madeline) and Brandon, from his first marriage to the late Lam May Yee; he is survived by his wife Shellen, and daughters, Victoria and Vanessa. Victor came from a large family with 11 siblings in all; he leaves them behind together with his siblings-in-law and many nephews, nieces, grand nephews and grand nieces.
We will miss him terribly. ”