Richard Branson pays tribute to 'truly unforgettable' Gay Byrne

Richard Branson pays tribute to 'truly unforgettable' Gay Byrne

British businessman Richard Branson has paid tribute to "incredible entertainer" Gay Byrne, who passed away on Monday.

Branson, who was interviewed by Byrne on both the Late Late Show and The Meaning of Life, said the broadcaster helped to shape modern Ireland.

"Everybody in Ireland watched Gay on The Late Late Show on a Friday night," he said.

"He was an incredible entertainer, but above and beyond that he pushed forward important social issues for wider debate, from abortion to divorce to sexuality. It's no exaggeration to say he played a major role in helping to shape modern Ireland."

Branson revealed he was so concerned about forgetting Byrne's name during his first appearance on the Late Late Show due to his dyslexia that he wrote the presenter's name on his hand - which Byrne noticed.

"He invited me on for an interview when I was quite young and, despite him being the most influential person in Ireland, I was not overly familiar with his show. Being dyslexic I am apt to forget names from time to time, especially if I have lots of interviews in short succession.

Three quarters through the show, Gay asked me: ‘What have you got written on your hand?’ I sheepishly turned it over to reveal I had 'Gay Byrne' penned on my skin. He was crestfallen!

Years later, Bryne recalled the incident with Branson.

"He later interviewed me for his show The Meaning of Life and we had a fascinating discussion about religion; we had differing views but a fascinating debate. Off-air, he brought up the name-on-hand incident and we shared a joke about it.

"Despite my mishap, Gay is truly unforgettable. He was an integral part of Irish life and I wish all the best to his loved ones."

More on this topic

'Goodnight Gay': Late Late says final goodbye to Gay Byrne'Goodnight Gay': Late Late says final goodbye to Gay Byrne

Colleagues, friends, and family gather as Ireland bids farewell to GayboColleagues, friends, and family gather as Ireland bids farewell to Gaybo

'A Dub and one of our own': Friends and family bid Gay Byrne goodbye'A Dub and one of our own': Friends and family bid Gay Byrne goodbye

Mourners gather to lay Gay Byrne to restMourners gather to lay Gay Byrne to rest

More in this Section

Youtuber LadBaby and Stormzy out in front in race for Christmas number oneYoutuber LadBaby and Stormzy out in front in race for Christmas number one

Taylor Swift to headline GlastonburyTaylor Swift to headline Glastonbury

Rob Brydon: US fame has not changed James CordenRob Brydon: US fame has not changed James Corden

French New Wave cinema icon Anna Karina dies at 79French New Wave cinema icon Anna Karina dies at 79


Lifestyle

Dr. Altona Myers is a dental surgeon and member of the International Academy of Facial Aesthetics. Her clinic, FacialRejuve is a modern, friendly, doctor owned and operated aesthetic clinic specialising in Facial Rejuvenation, located in Stillorgan, Co Dublin.School Daze: The power of education

How much of what we think we know about Christmas pudding is actually true? Robert Hume explodes the myths about our festive treatDebunking all the myths about plum pudding

Her character in Dallas may have shot JR Ewing, but Mary Crosby will always be known as the daughter of the man who sang ‘White Christmas’, writes Ed Power.'I stayed in Castleisland with the Buckley family': Mary Crosby on life as Bing's daughter

The shop sells books, music accessories and crafts and also has a café.We Sell Books: Why the personal touch makes all the difference

More From The Irish Examiner