British comedian and actor Tim Brooke-Taylor, star of The Goodies, has died after contracting the coronavirus.
The 79-year-old died in the UK on Sunday (local time), his agent has confirmed.
The news has shocked the entertainment world and again made the threat of COVID-19 hit home to Britons who remain in lockdown as the country recorded more than 10,000 virus deaths.
Fellow Goodies star Graeme Garden remembered “a funny, sociable, generous man who was a delight to work with”.
“Audiences found him not only hilarious but also adorable,” he said.
“His loss at this dreadful time is particularly hard to bear and my thoughts are with Christine, Ben, Edward and their families.”
Brooke-Taylor has been a much-admired member of British comedy since joining the Cambridge Footlights with John Cleese in the early 1960s.
In a tweet early Monday morning (Australian time), Cleese wrote that he was still absorbing the sad news.
“Tim was one of my very oldest friends, and one that I used to love performing with. He did ‘frightened’ better than anyone,” Cleese wrote.
So sad to hear that the great Tim Brooke Taylor has died. A wonderful man, so many happy times sat next to him on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. Here we are with Barry, Colin and Graeme at a celebration of the show in January. He was on great form. My thoughts are with his family. pic.twitter.com/9CfottzJVe
— Rob Brydon (@RobBrydon) April 12, 2020
In a statement, Brooke-Taylor’s agent wrote that the star’s legacy would live on.
“Joining Footlights in 1960 took him to providing a huge variety of splendid entertainment – television, radio, theatre, film, books, DVDs, CDs, quizzes, etc – all of which he undertook with energy and a great sense of fun.
“We will remember him for so much but must just mention The Goodies and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.”
Tim Brooke-Taylor OBE (17 July 1940 – 12 April 2020) R.I.P pic.twitter.com/IW2glrHoVz
— 🇬🇧📺 Classic British TV 📺🇬🇧 (@Classicbritcom) April 12, 2020
“He had, of course, many fans whom he always treated cheerfully even after long and exhausting rehearsals and recordings,” the statement continued.
“He was an exceptional client and a pleasure to represent.
“We’re grateful that we have so much of his work to view, read and listen to.
“In all the time with us and in all his showbiz work, he has been supported by Christine, his wife.”
It was as one of The Goodies, alongside Garden and Bill Oddie, that Brooke-Taylor found international fame, earning household name status in Australia and New Zealand and attracting millions of viewers in its heyday.
In a tribute, Oddie wrote of his co-star: “Fifty years and he only got cross with me once… well maybe twice… no quite a lot actually! No one could wear silly costumes or do dangerous stunts like Tim. I know it hurt cos he used to cry a lot. Sorry Timbo. A true visual comic and a great friend.”