Australian Rolf Harris, whose career as a much-loved performer in British TV culture ended in disgrace, has died aged 93. He’d being suffering with neck cancer for some time.
Harris’s reputation was destroyed when he was jailed in 2014 for 12 indecent assaults on four young women and girls between 1968 and 1986.
One of those convictions was later quashed. Mr Justice Sweeney told him in sentencing that “Your reputation now lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours, but you have no one to blame but yourself.”
Harris was released on parole in 2017. Earlier that year, he was cleared of three further charges.
A subsequent trial ended with the jury again unable to reach a verdict on three of the four outstanding charges.
Until his arrest in 2013, he’d enjoyed a gilded career in Britain having moved from his native Australia in 1952.
He rose to mass popularity amongst adults and children alike in the 1960’s. He was conferred with an MBE in 1968, an OBE in 1977 and ultimately a CBE in 2006.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2012, 12 months before his arrest.
His zany interpretations of Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, Two Little Boys and his improbable reworking of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven all won favour.
He appeared at Glastonbury in 2010 at the age 80. His television work saw him become one of Britain’s best-known faces and in 2005 he was commissioned to paint an official portrait of the Queen.
His legacy is destroyed after his convictions for multiple sexual assaults and for sexual grooming of underage girls.