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Michael Barrymore is dead – or so says Michael Barrymore: Shamed comic kills off stage persona… and admits he came close to suicide Former TV star says he has 'killed' stage persona after decade of tormentRecovering alcoholic said he now wishes to be known as Michael ParkerClaims he was 'framed for murder' after man found dead in his pool
01:33 GMT, 30 December 2012
Torment: Michael Barrymore says his TV personality is dead after years of being harangued by the press and he now wishes to be known as Michael Parker
Disgraced television entertainer Michael Barrymore has ‘killed’ his stage persona – after suffering a decade of torment since a man was found dead in his swimming pool.
The recovering alcoholic has revealed he now wishes to be known as Michael Parker and admits he came close to taking his own life.
Barrymore, whose TV programmes Strike It Lucky and My Kind Of People were watched weekly by millions in the Eighties and Nineties, claims he was ‘framed for murder’ by the media over the incident.
Barrymore said: ‘The press killed Michael Barrymore. My real name is Michael Parker – Michael Barrymore is dead. Although I have been a couple of times to the jumping-off point, I didn’t kill myself. If I had, it would have completed the story.
‘I don’t have to be Michael Barrymore – he’s dead. I don’t have to do what I’ve been doing since I was eight, which is making people laugh to deflect things. It’s the first time I’ve ever got to know me and I was 60 in May.’
He blamed ‘a conspiracy’ for destroying his TV career and spoke of his regrets over the way he treated his wife Cheryl following his decision to come out as homosexual.
Barrymore said: ‘It smacks me that there was a definite conspiracy to destroy ITV’s main brand at the time: “We want to get rid of anything that works for them.”
‘I never shy away from the fact that I’m an alcoholic and that I have had my problems, but I’ve never murdered anybody. I’ve never got up in the morning and thought I’ll harm someone. I’ve just had an extraordinary sequence of events that have been on public display that I’ve had no control over.’
His fall from grace began in 1995 when he announced ‘I’m gay’ from the stage of an East End pub.
Three years later, he and wife Cheryl, who was also his long- serving manager, divorced.
Framed: Barrymore claims he was framed for murder by the media after a man was found dead in his pool 2001
Downfall: The TV star was hugely popular with British audiences during the eighties and nineties until a string of incidents blackened his name
In an interview with The Independent, Barrymore said: ‘Nobody’s written a book on how to handle fame, or the downside of it. We loved each other. I loved her, and she loved me too much.’
After the break-up, he descended into a public spiral of drink and drug abuse. The day after his divorce was confirmed, he was accused of a serious sexual assault in a Soho nightclub.
But the police found the claims were unfounded and a national newspaper later paid him substantial damages.
Then, in March 2001, Barrymore became the subject of a murder investigation after the body of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock was found in the swimming pool in the grounds of his 2 million mansion in Essex.
Ecstasy and cocaine were found in Lubbock’s blood – but more scandalous were internal injuries suggesting he was the victim of a sexual assault before his death.
An inquest returned an open verdict in 2003 and police never charged Barrymore or anyone else with murder.
Barrymore said: ‘It was just a party that went disastrously wrong, with a tragic ending. I’ve basically been framed for a murder – one that didn’t take place.
‘I’m just pleased that I’ve survived and that I have got a peaceful enough place to be able to deal with everything.’