UK & World News
Comic Actor Eric Sykes Has Died
Comic actor Eric Sykes has died at the age of 89 after a short illness.
In wide-ranging career, he will be remembered best for the long-running and widely acclaimed Sykes And A... TV series with Hattie Jacques.
He also wrote scripts for stars such as Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Stanley Unwin.
His manager, Norma Farnes, said: "Eric Sykes, 89, star of TV, stage and films died peacefully this morning after a short illness.
"His family were with him."
Mr Sykes was still appearing on the West End stage into his 80s, even though he became almost totally deaf and nearly blind.
Whenever he was asked when he was going to retire from work, he invariably replied that he enjoyed doing what he did so much that he did not regard it as work at all.
His TV series Sykes And A... attracted huge audiences in its nine series - involving well over 125 shows - between 1960 and 1965, and then from 1972 to 1979. The episodes have been repeated scores of times since.
Mr Sykes was also the mastermind behind silent film The Plank, about the mishaps caused by a man carrying a large plank, which is now regarded as a movie classic.
Other films in which he appeared or wrote or both, included Heavens Above! (1963), Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965), Monte Carlo Or Bust (1969), Theatre Of Blood (1973), Rhubarb, Rhubarb (1980), Boys In Blue (1982), and Splitting Heirs (1993).
Not letting age interfere with his work, he also starred with Nicole Kidman in the acclaimed movie The Others when he was approaching his 80s.
In 2005 he played Frank Bryce in the Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire movie.
His two novels were The Great Crime Of Grapplewick (1997) and Smelling Of Roses (1998). In 2000, he wrote Sykes Of Sebastopol Terrace, an illustrated guide to the TV series, including short stories based on its episodes.
And in 2003 he produced an anthology of his favourite comics, with Tommy Cooper heading his list.
He was born in 1923 in Oldham and went on to serve in the Royal Air Force, during which time he was introduced to showbiz, like many comics of his generation.
In 1952 he married Eith Eleanore Milbrandt, with whom he had one son and three daughters.
He was awarded an OBE in 1986 and a CBE in 2005.