FREDDIE Starr was nearly made homeless when he lost a libel case which left him with nearly £1million in legal bills.
The tragic comic, who was found dead aged 76 at his Costa del Sol home on Thursday, sued a woman who claimed he groped her in Jimmy Savile’s dressing room when she was 15 in 1974.
Rex Features Freddie Starr was found dead aged 76 at his Costa del Sol home on Thursday
Neighbours also said he owed thousands in unpaid bills and a source added: “Starr was definitely at risk of losing his home and being turfed out on the streets.
“No date had been set for an auction but the ball was definitely rolling. It’s shocking to think a man who was such a household name in his early career could have ended up on the streets.”
Cops previously detained the Liverpool-born funnyman after he threatened to take his own life after he was arrested on sex abuse allegations.
Pal Jim Davidson, 65, said: “He told them he was going to kill himself and that he was going to eat concrete.
“I asked him what they did when he said that and he said, ‘They kept me in a cell for 14 hours while I had a psychiatric assessment’.”
Freddie Starr’s terrible Elvis Presley impression while singing cabaret in a karaoke bar two years before his death
FACEBOOK The comic’s final picture before being found dead at his Spanish home by a carer
Freddie posted a haunting last message on Facebook, saying he was ‘tired’
Dan Charity – The Sun Pal Jim Davidson tells how the tragic comic was left broken by Operation Yewtree
Freddie was said to be mortified after seeing a recording of his terrible Elvis Presley impression, pictured, while singing in a bar two years before his death.
Speaking about the fall from grace, Jim added: “I’ve been out there a few times and people have told me, ‘We see your mate Freddie Starr singing cabaret in the karaoke bars’.
“It was a sad way to end a career for someone who I thought was Britain’s greatest entertainer.”
Freddie was arrested four times between 2012 and 2014 under Operation Yewtree — the investigation into allegations of historic sex abuse against celebrities including Savile.
He was eventually released without charge.
Freddie Starr’s friend Bobby Davro reveals he was one of the last people to speak to the comedy legend before he died
Getty – Contributor Liverpool-born funnyman Freddie Starr at home in his garden at the height of his fame
Handout Freddie starred on I’m A Celebrity in 2011 but became a recluse after his comeback failed
But Freddie lost a subsequent libel case which left him with legal bills of almost £1million and he was forced to sell his £700,000 UK home and moved to Spain in 2015.
Jim, also arrested under the police operation and released without charge, added: “It was a surprise to us all with Yewtree. Freddie never was a ladies’ man.
“I think he was lonely in Spain. He was bothered by the stigma attached to it all.
Twitter Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden paid tribute to Freddie Starr online
Rex Features The tragic entertainer started out as a singer
Rex Features Freddie Starr was one of the biggest stars of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s
“On the surface, his way of dealing with that was humour and being awkward and being out of the box.
“But deep down inside it was killing him — it was eating him up.
“I survived Yewtree, but he didn’t. I think it really broke him. He was overwhelmed by it all.”
Freddie Starr’s court loss followed him to Spain and may have led to him being made homeless.
Lawyers for alleged victim Karin Ward secured an order on the property he bought for £170,000.
Yesterday, showbiz pals paid tribute to Freddie following his death from a heart attack.
Bobby Davro called him the “funniest man I’ve ever seen” and added: “I’m so sad we have lost one of our greatest comedy talents.”
Funnyman Freddie posted a wacky picture on Facebook with cigarettes in his mouth, nose and ears in February
News Group Newspapers Ltd Our iconic ‘Freddie Starr ate my hamster’ front page dated March 13, 1986
Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden added: “His style may have fallen out of comedy fashion and favour, but it’s important to recognise his once huge popularity and fame. I hope his legacy is not smalled down and he’s remembered with a smile.”
Singer and chatshow host Des O’Connor said: “At his best, Freddie was borderline genius.
Freddie Starr dead – Montage of legendary comedian’s iconic TV moments
Rex Features Freddie Starr was known for dressing up as characters, including Poirot
Rex Features Freddie Starr grins as the Hulk in one of his madcap costumes
‘Family didn’t talk to him for years’THE friend and carer who lived with the late Freddie Starr has begged his estranged family to get in touch following his death — saying they have not spoken in years.
Freddie had six children from his four wives — splitting from the last, Sophie Lea, 38, in 2015.
Pal Nelly Georgieva, 47, said: “I hope to hear from his family, his daughter or son. I don’t know what to do. I want the embassy to call me, to tell me what’s happening, what they’re doing with him.”
Bulgarian Nelly found Freddie’s body in his home in Mijas on Thursday as she returned from a shopping trip. Spanish authorities later confirmed he died of a heart attack.
She said the comic spent his final hours besotted with a three-week-old tabby cat dubbed Little Freddie.
She said: “He spent all day giving Little Freddie kisses and cuddles — he has the same eyes as Freddie and his face is cheeky like his.”
Nelly moved into the apartment complex with Freddie after initially being his cleaner and later caring for the ageing funnyman.
She said Freddie quit smoking, but needed oxygen apparatus to help him breathe.
She added: “I lived with him for four years. I was a good friend. I loved him — not romantically or sexually, but his personality as a friend and companion.
“And Freddie loved me. He would say, ‘Nell, you’re my f***ing angel’. He was always smiling and telling jokes. He was a great person to me.”
Nelly said Freddie had been taken to hospital by ambulance twice in the last two years, but appeared fine on the day of his death.
She added: “I went to the shop for 30 minutes and came back and he was dead. He was fine before. He was watching TV and playing with his cat and nothing was bothering him.
“But he had heart problems. He was in a coma after an operation. When I met him he was ill. He had asthma and problems with lungs. He had many problems but I never knew he was bad.”
Nelly also admitted that for a long time she was unaware of the huge fame her friend once had.
She added: “Freddie was normal. He never acted like a star. One time we went for coffee and people kept asking for photos. I assumed they were friends.
“Then one day he showed me his impressions of Mick Jagger and Roy Orbison and I realised these were not friends — they were fans.”
PA:Press Association Freddie Starr met the Queen in 1989
PA:Press Association The TV legend has been hailed as a borderline genius
ExclusiveCRACKING SHOW Katie Price asked if she’s on crack cocaine as she stares at woman’s privates FALLEN STARR Freddie Starr died from a heart attack while watching TV, autopsy reveals ExclusiveSTARR STRUCK Freddie Starr ‘threatened to kill himself by eating concrete after cop probe’ ExclusiveCOKE DOPE James Argent dumped by Towie bosses after testing positive for cocaine KATIE’S BUSTED Katie Price flashes surgery scars on boobs & has nipple licked by drag queen ExclusiveOH BABY Meghan Markle & Prince Harry forced to deny they ‘stage managed’ Archie’s birth
How we told the news of the fallen star’s death on Thursday
“Always unpredictable, he could create mayhem in a TV studio with his wacky, unique humour.”
But dad-of-six Freddie, who married five times to four women, received mixed tributes from his exes. First wife Betty Simpson said: “It’s very sad news, but I didn’t really like Freddie. He was brilliant on stage, but a terrible husband.”
Sophie Lea, 38, to whom Freddie was still legally married despite their split in 2015, said: “I was still devastated. I want to just remember him as a fantastic comedian like the millions of fans he brought so much pleasure to.”
Jim invites fans to make a donation in Freddie’s memory to his charity Care after Combat.
WHERE TO GET HELPIf you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
Freddie Starr does Elvis Presley as he sings ‘Hound Dog’ on holiday in Spain