O’Connor, a “unique comedian who was light years away from political correctness” died Sunday morning in Buckinghamshire, his family confirmed via his agent.
His humor, his family said in a statement, “was 100% clean and always totally family friendly.”
O’Connor’s daughter-in-law, Olympic gold medalist Denise Lewis, said after watching him for all these years as a child with her mother on a Saturday night, she was “so upset” to see how sweet, genuine and kind he was. .
“He was exactly the person we saw on TV day and night,” she said.
O’Connor, who was born in Bootle, Merseyside, started out as a teacher, before embarking on a career as an actor in men’s clubs.
He first gained public attention as the only comedian to win Opportunity Knocks three times in a row.
The artist became a regular on The Comedians and established himself as a household name in the 1970s and 1980s, most notably in Pick Pockets and The Zodiac Game.
He presented Name That Tune between 1976 and 1983, Crosswits and the Tom O’Connor Roadshow for the BBC.
He later turned to straight acting, taking on the role of Father Tom, a Catholic priest, in the BBC soap opera Doctors in the early 2000s.
A regular on the scene, he has performed several times at the Royal Performances at the London Palladium.
He appeared in the celebrity edition of Come Dine With Me in 2010 and the following year joined Lewis in the Pointless Celebrities quiz.
Liverpool City Council paid tribute to O’Connor in a tweet, saying: “Thanks for the laughs, Tom. “
TV presenter Piers Morgan called him a ‘Liverpool legend and a very funny man’.
BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker tweeted that O’Connor was “kind, funny and a true gentleman”.
He is survived by his wife Pat, four children, 16 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
O’Connor fought a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and his family thanked “everyone who took care of Tom through his Parkinson’s diagnosis and treatment and of course his last days in the hospital” .