British Comedy Legend Sykes Dies Aged 89
Eric Sykes, a giant of British comedy for sixty years and a familiar face to fans of the Harry Potter films, has died aged 89, his manager announced on Wednesday.
A statement released by Norma Farnes confirmed that the veteran performer died on Wednesday morning, surrounded by his family, after a short illness.
He is best remembered for starring in and writing long-running TV sitcom Sykes And A... with Hattie Jacques, star of the bawdy Carry On series of films.
He also wrote scripts for comedians including Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Tony Hancock.
Sykes' film career included cameo appearances in "Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire" (2005), "The Others" (2001) and "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines" (1965).
Entertainer Bruce Forsyth said Sykes was "one of the greats of comedy in this country. He was universally loved here... He was just one of the funniest men ever in comedy".
Monty Python star Michael Palin called Sykes, who served as a wireless operator in the Royal Air Force during World War II, "one of the nicest, most decent men in the business and one of a kind.
"No one else could do what Eric could do," he added. "To me, he was a great inspiration, both as a writer and performer."
Presenter Stephen Fry took to Twitter to pay tribute, writing: "Oh no! Eric Sykes gone? An adorable, brilliant, modest, hilarious, innovative and irreplaceable comic master. Farewell, dear, dear man."
Sykes leaves behind wife Eith Eleanore Milbrandt, one son and three daughters.