Rolf Harris, the disgraced children’s TV presenter, has died at the age of 93

LONDON — Rolf Harris, the veteran entertainer who was a family favorite for decades on British and Australian television, has died after being convicted of sexually assaulting young girls. He was 93 years old.

Harris “died peacefully surrounded by family and friends and has now been laid to rest,” the family said in a statement released Tuesday. He did not provide details.

Harris, who scored a hit with ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’, was adored by generations of children for his jovial on-screen persona and so respected in Britain that he once had the rare privilege of painting a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

But his half-century TV career came crashing down in 2013 when he was arrested in Britain on sexual abuse charges.

Many were in disbelief when Harris was found guilty in July 2014 of 12 counts of indecent assault against four young girls between the 1960s and 1980s. Prosecutors say he was a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality and used his fame to take advantage of his victims.

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Among the victims was a boyfriend of Harris’ daughter who claimed he molested her between the ages of 13 and 19. Harris said their relationship was consensual and that her relatives and friends supported her during the trial.

But the jury convicted him on all charges and the judge sentenced him to five years and nine months in prison.

Harris was released in May 2017. In the same month, he was also acquitted of four unrelated sex offences, which he denied. In the same year, the Court of Appeal overturned one of his 12 indecent assault convictions.

Harris enjoyed a 60-year career as a successful television host, songwriter and artist. He was best known for his children’s television shows such as “Rolf’s Cartoon Time” and “Animal Hospital” and had several hits in the 1960s.

Born in 1930, Harris grew up in a suburb of Perth, Australia, and was an award-winning swimmer as a teenager. After several unsuccessful attempts at art school, Harris launched his television career in 1952 on a BBC programme.

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In addition to hosting children’s shows such as ‘Rolf’s Cartoon Club’, Harris was also known in the ’60s for performing popular songs such as ‘Two Little Boys’, which became a number one Christmas hit in Nagy – In Britain.

By the 2000s, she was considered a national treasure by many: the Queen sat for a portrait she painted for her 80th birthday in 2005, and the painting was exhibited at Buckingham Palace. In 2012, he performed in front of the palace at the concert celebrating the monarch’s diamond jubilee.

After his conviction, Harris was stripped of many honours, including the Order of the British Empire and the Order of Australia. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which described Harris as “one of the world’s most iconic entertainers”, said it was withdrawing its scholarship.

After his release from prison, Harris retired from public life and spent time at his home in Berkshire, southern England.

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Source: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/disgraced-childrens-tv-entertainer-rolf-harris-dies-93-99535519