British TV star Peter Bowles has died of cancer, aged 85.
He was best known for his role as Richard DeVere in late 70s sitcom To The Manor Born, starring opposite Penelope Keith in the BBC series for three seasons, which attracted regular audiences of around 20 million viewers across the UK.
Bowles was a star of stage and screen, also appearing in films such as The Bank Job, Eyewitness and The Steal.
The actor’s agent announced the sad news in a statement on Thursday.
“The actor Peter Bowles has sadly passed away at the age of 85 from cancer,” Gavin Barker said.
“Starting his career at the Old Vic Theatre in 1956, he starred in 45 theatrical productions ending at the age of 81 in The Exorcist at the Phoenix Theatre.
“He worked consistently on stage and screen, becoming a household name on TV as the archetypal English gent in To The Manor Born, Only When I Laugh, The Bounder and Lytton’s Diary, which he devised himself.
“He leaves his wife of over 60 years, Sue, and their three children Guy, Adam and Sasha.”
Bowles, who was born in London in 1936 but grew up in a poor suburb in Nottingham, won a scholarship to the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
He began his career on stage with the Old Vic Company before his successful TV career came calling.
“If you have a great popular TV success, particularly in comedy, people don’t think you can act on stage,” Bowles said to PA news agency in 2010 when speaking about his success in the sitcom.
“People thought I was just a sitcom actor and the BBC told me I’d never work in drama again.
“I didn’t realise there were two worlds. It was new to me. I found it very odd and frustrating.”
His last TV role was in the series Victoria, starring as the Duke of Wellington alongside Jenna Coleman in the royal drama from 2016-2019.
The actor is being remembered for his stellar career, with Piers Morgan among the first to pay tribute.
“RIP Peter Bowles, 85. Wonderful actor who exuded roguish British charm,” he tweeted.
“Loved him in To The Manor Born, Lytton’s Diary & The Bounder. Sad news.”
See other tributes below:
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