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Published: Wednesday, 7/4/2012

British comedy actor and writer Eric Sykes dies after short illness

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON — Eric Sykes, the widely-acclaimed British comedy actor and writer, died Wednesday. He was 89.

Sykes was one of the most popular comic actors of his generation, appearing in shows in London's West End into his 80s. He began his career writing scripts for BBC shows, co-writing 24 episodes of the classic radio comedy "The Goon Show" with the late Spike Milligan.

He appeared in the "Sykes and a" sitcom about a brother and sister living together in west London, which ran in the 1960s and 1970s. He went on to write and act in theater shows and movies, including an appearance in "The Others" starring Nicole Kidman and in the Harry Potter film "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

Sykes also wrote scripts for Peter Sellers and other major British actors.

Manager Norma Farnes said that Sykes died following a brief illness and was with his family when he passed away, but did give the cause of his death or specify if Sykes had been at home or in a hospital.

TV star and former Monty Python member Michael Palin said Sykes was "one of the nicest, most decent men in the business and one of a kind."

"To me, he was a great inspiration, both as a writer and performer," Palin said.

Comedian Stephen Fry paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "Oh no! Eric Sykes gone? An adorable, brilliant, modest, hilarious, innovative and irreplaceable comic master. Farewell, dear, dear man."

Comedy writer Eddie Braben said Sykes was a "monumental man of comedy, an inspirational figure for those who aimed for comedy success." He said Sykes' death leaves "an enormous gap in the field of fun. His was the comedy of innocence. He didn't raise any bruises, only laughter."

Sykes was survived by his wife, Eith Eleanore Milbrandt, and his four children.

Farnes could not immediately be reached to confirm details of funeral arrangements.



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