A special send-off for Barth and Floyd
Les Lye was remembered Sunday as a man whose humour garnered international acclaim but remained a down-to-earth and loving father and colleague.
The well-known Ottawa comedian, best-known for his roles on 'Willy & Floyd' and 'You Can't Do That on Television,' died Tuesday at the age of 84.
His informal memorial service had family and friends reminiscing about Lye's famous faces.
"In all the shows and all the different characters he played, and in all the hours he put on camera, I can't ever recall seeing him angry," said Bill McKee, who worked with Lye for 25 years at CJOH-TV, now CTV Ottawa.
To his three children he was a loving storyteller as much as a gifted artist, said his oldest daughter, Daralyn Steele.
Born in Toronto, Lye came to Ottawa after graduating from Lorne Greene's Academy of Radio Arts in 1948.
He joined CFRA Radio, where he served listeners for more than a decade. It was at CFRA, that he worked with Rich Little and they collaborated on a comedy album, 'My Fellow Canadians' - a spoof of the Diefenbaker years.
In 1961, he joined CJOH as a freelance writer and performer for the new station. It was here that he forged a long-lasting partnership with Bill Luxton. Together, they created the popular 'Willy & Floyd,' which ran for more than 20 years. Personalities such as Alanis Morissette, Klea Scott, Bruno Gerussi and Margaret Trudeau would drop by for surprise guest appearances.
"He was a funny man," said Bill Luxton, Lye's 'Willy & Floyd' co-star. "He's one of those guys who had an encyclopedia in his head."
Opportunity later knocked when producers of 'You Can't Do That on Television' were looking for a versatile actor to play the many adult "foils" for the kids. Lye answered the call and instantly became a household name around the world.
He ad-libbed most of the time. When there were lines, he usually forgot them. And his younger co-stars loved every moment, said actor Kevin Kubusheskie.
"He had an office at CJOH and I would sit there for hours and listen to him tell me stories about back in the day," Kubusheskie said. "And I would never tire of it."
Lye is survived by his wife Johnni.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Natalie Johnson