Ventriloquist and entertainer Victor Khoo dies of cancer

Ventriloquist and entertainer Victor Khoo dies of cancer

Ventriloquist and entertainer Victor Khoo died on Friday morning after a battle with cancer. He was 63.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Here are some tributes streaming in on Twitter, going out to the entertainer Victor Khoo, who together with his puppet sidekick Charlee, were household names in Singapore in the 1970s-1980s: 

@gegabat: Part of my childhood. Victor Khoo and Charlee. RIP.

@gerardwong71: Goodbye Victor and Charlie. Thank you for my happy childhood Saturdays in the early 80s

@gweezilla: RIP Victor Khoo. You took a special route in life and found a place in the hearts of generations of children...

@kooxy14887: He, entertained us, but left us. R.I.P Victor Khoo. You brought us loads of laughter with them around.

The Puppet Master

By Wong Kim Hoh

IT IS a story which still makes the rounds today. It involves ventriloquist Victor Khoo, his puppet Charlee and a little boy with a precocious command of Hokkien profanities.

Khoo and Charlee were hosting a radio show called Happy Talk in the 1990s when the little boy called in to take part in a quiz. Asked what the female equivalent of a cock (i.e. cockerel) was, the boy gleefully let loose the coarse Hokkien term for a woman's private parts.

Chances are you've heard the tale regaled to you with great relish by someone who knows someone who's heard the whole bawdy episode.

Khoo's lips curl into a sardonic grin.

"Yeah, people come up to me all the time and swear blind that they've heard it themselves. I say, 'Okay lah, good for you'," he says.

"Of course," he says in the next breath with mock vexation, "it's not true. There's always a one-second delay on radio shows. You think they'd let the show go on if it had really happened?"

He reckons the rumour began as a joke cracked by a deejay during a road show.

"But it got so strong that the radio station asked if we should have a press conference to explain things. I said, 'Leave it'. Of course, a lot more people tuned in hoping to catch another gaffe."

There's another rumour - a more insidious one - revolving around the 50something magician, emcee, film-maker and all-round entertainer. That, in his youth, he lived off the earnings of a Taiwanese songstress.

His shoulders rise and fall in a defeated shrug. He patiently explains how he used to work back in the 1980s as the entertainment director for Mandarin Hotel. His duties included hiring and programming dancers and singers from around the region for Neptune Theatre.

"People probably started talking because her mother was very nice to me and was always bringing me food. But that's probably because she wanted me to give her daughter a better slot."

While he admits there were pretty girls and temptations aplenty, he never had any dalliances except with one - a Hong Kong singer called Lam May Yee whom he married.

Now, that's a great love story, one which ended rather sadly, but more about that later.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.