Eric Sykes died today aged 89 after a short illness, his manager Norma Farnes said.
One of the most endearing and popular comic actors of his generation, Sykes was still appearing on the West End stage into his 80s, even though he became almost totally deaf and nearly blind.
Sykes found fame in a series of TV sitcoms from the 1950s, including Sykes And A… alongside Carry On star Hattie Jacques.
Sir Bruce Forsyth paid tribute to the star, calling him “one of the greats of comedy in this country”.
“He was universally loved here,” the entertainer continued. “He was just one of the funniest men ever.”
Comedian Stephen Fry wrote on Twitter: “Oh no! Eric Sykes gone? An adorable, brilliant, modest, hilarious, innovative and irreplaceable comic master. Farewell, dear, dear man.”
Actor Bernard Cribbins, who starred in two of Sykes’ comedy shorts, The Plank (1979) and It’s Your Move (1969), also paid tribute: “I just wish him a lot of rest up there with all the other comics, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. They will all be up there, having a laugh together.”
Sykes’ film credits include Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (2005) and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965). He was also a novelist, director and producer.
Here he is being interviewed by Des O’Connor:
Image: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire