Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise were a famous British comedy double act, who worked together for over forty years until Eric Morecambe's death from a heart attack in 1984. Beginning in variety, a form of popular British theatre similar to American vaudeville, they progressed to radio and then to television and, less successfully, to films. It is their television shows they are most remembered for. Although their first series in the 50s was panned, subsequent series from 1961 onwards were extremely popular. By the 1970s they were the most popular comedy stars in Britain.