Entertainment & Arts

Warren Mitchell, Alf Garnett actor, dies aged 89

Warren Mitchell
Image caption Warren Mitchell played the Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part for nine years

Actor Warren Mitchell, who played Alf Garnett in TV series Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness and in Health, has died aged 89.

A statement from his family said the star died in the early hours of Saturday "surrounded by his family".

"He has been in poor health for some time, but was cracking jokes to the last," the family added.

Mitchell's great nephew paid tribute to him on Twitter, saying he was "the last of his generation".

The full tweet read: "Just got the news my great uncle Warren Mitchell (aka Alf Garnett) died last night. The last of his generation, wonderful and funny man RIP."

Mitchell began playing the character Alf Garnett at the age of 40 in 1966 and appeared in more than 50 episodes until the programme ended in 1975.

He returned as Alf Garnett in the BBC series In Sickness and in Health, which ran from 1985 to 1992.

He also received critical acclaim for other roles. He won Olivier Awards for his stage performances in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman in 1979 and The Price in 2004.

Born in north London's Stoke Newington, he served in the Royal Air Force and then went on to read physics at University College, Oxford.

He never completed the course and took up acting in 1951 at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Image caption Mitchell appeared in Till Death Us Do Part with Una Stubbs and Tony Booth

In 2004 he suffered from a stroke, but was back performing in Miller's The Price a week later.

He also appeared in TV shows including Gormenghast, Wall of Silence, Lovejoy, Waking The Dead and Kavanagh QC.

There have been many tributes to the actor.

Comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: "Alf Garnett was one of the most influential and important characters and performances in comedy history. RIP Warren Mitchell."

Theatre director Rupert Goold wrote: "RIP Warren Mitchell. A deeply soulful and erudite man who genuinely loved the theatre."

And Author Neil Gaiman wrote: "Sad to hear Warren Mitchell has died. I acted with him when he played the Director on the @BBCRadio3 version of Signal to Noise. Good man."

"The great and fearless Warren Mitchell is no more," wrote Monty Python's Terry Gilliam, adding he had had "a brilliant innings".

Tributes were also paid by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who remembered him as a "great actor & wit", and by his beloved Tottenham Hotspur football club.

Mitchell is survived by his wife Constance Wake, a fellow actress, and three children.

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