Ken Dodd, a titan of a vanishing age of British comedy whose fame at its peak rivaled that of the Beatles, died on Sunday at his home in Liverpool. He was 90.
His death was announced by his publicist, Robert Holmes. Mr. Dodd had recently been hospitalized with a chest infection.
Instantly recognizable by his unruly mop of hair and snaggletoothed grin, Mr. Dodd came up through the ranks of Britain’s variety circuit, where performers kept eager crowds entertained with songs, a bit of dance and a slew of jokes.
He was famous for his rapid-fire one-liners, surreal flights of fancy, use of fanciful words like “tattyfilarious” and marathon stand-up shows. Even in his 80s, Mr. Dodd’s shows often ran three to four hours. In the 1960s he held the Guinness world record for the longest joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours.
He joked about his marathon shows: “You think you can get away, but you can’t. I’ll follow you home and I’ll shout jokes through your letterbox.”
In Mr. Dodd’s heyday, in the 1960s and ’70s, his fame in Britain was stratospheric. He played a record 42 straight weeks at the London Palladium, hosted prime-time television shows and hit the music charts with songs, including his signature tune, “Happiness.”