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Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs - known for playing much-loved Manuel - dies aged 86

PUBLISHED: 23:32 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:35 02 December 2016

File photo dated 09/05/09 of Andrew Sachs arriving for the 2009 British Soap Awards at the BBC Television Centre in London, as German-born British actor, Andrew Sachs, best known for playing Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died aged 86, at a care home and was buried on Thursday, according to reports. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 1, 2016. See PA story DEATH Sachs. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

File photo dated 09/05/09 of Andrew Sachs arriving for the 2009 British Soap Awards at the BBC Television Centre in London, as German-born British actor, Andrew Sachs, best known for playing Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died aged 86, at a care home and was buried on Thursday, according to reports. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 1, 2016. See PA story DEATH Sachs. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Comic actor Andrew Sachs, best-known for playing much-loved Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died aged 86.

File photo dated 06/05/09 of Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs are seen promoting two Fawlty Towers specials created to commemorate the 30 years Fawlty Towers Anniversary
as German-born British actor, Andrew Sachs, best known for playing Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died aged 86, at a care home and was buried on Thursday, according to reports.
PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 1, 2016. See PA story DEATH Sachs. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire File photo dated 06/05/09 of Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs are seen promoting two Fawlty Towers specials created to commemorate the 30 years Fawlty Towers Anniversary as German-born British actor, Andrew Sachs, best known for playing Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died aged 86, at a care home and was buried on Thursday, according to reports. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 1, 2016. See PA story DEATH Sachs. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Mr Sachs is understood to have been battling vascular dementia for four years before he died at a care home and was buried on Thursday, according to reports.

His wife of 57 years, Melody Sachs, told the Daily Mail: “It wasn’t all doom and gloom, he still worked for two years (after his diagnosis in 2012). We were happy, we were always laughing we never had a dull moment.

“He had dementia for four years and it wasn’t very pleasant. We didn’t really notice it at first until the memory started going.

“It didn’t get really bad until quite near the end. I nursed Andrew, I was there for every moment of it.”

File photo dated 24/12/92 of German-born British actor, Andrew Sachs, best known for playing Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died aged 86, at a care home and was buried on Thursday, according to reports. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 1, 2016. See PA story DEATH Sachs. Photo credit should read: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire File photo dated 24/12/92 of German-born British actor, Andrew Sachs, best known for playing Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died aged 86, at a care home and was buried on Thursday, according to reports. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 1, 2016. See PA story DEATH Sachs. Photo credit should read: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

The German-born father-of-three, whose parents fled the Naxis in 1938, refused to complain about his poor health, his wife said.

Mrs Sachs, also 86, told the Mail her husband lost his ability to speak and write during his final few weeks, and he was unable to feed himself or eat during his final days.

The actor, who was born in Berlin, became a household name as the bungling Manual in the 1970s sitcom.

But he also played roles including Dr Watson in a Sherlock Holmes series and Jeeves in PG Wodehouse’s The Code of The Woosters, both radio adaptations.

He had moved to England aged just eight.

‘I know nothing’

Mr Sachs shot to fame in his role of Manuel in the comedy series which ran from 1975 to 1979. It was a part in which he was constantly being bullied and harangued by the hotel proprietor, played by John Cleese.

Sometimes he complained, although good-naturedly, that Cleese’s “bullying” was so robust that Sachs was more than once in pain.

An oft-quoted catchphrase is ‘I know nothing’, which came from the episode Communication Problems.

It is a testament to the show that it was voted number one in the British Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Television Programmes in 2000 - despite the fact it ran for just 12 episodes and took three months to film.

Sachs said he had tried to convince Cleese to rewrite Manuel as a German waiter, playing to Sachs’ skills as a native German speaker. But the suggestion was dismissed - to award-winning effect.

So popular was his part in Fawlty Towers, that he released no fewer than four singles as Manuel, including Manuel’s Good Food Guide.

In 1981 “Manuel” released a cover version of Joe Dolce’s UK Number One, Shaddap You Face, with Waiter, There’s A Flea In My Soup on the B side.

• Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Sachs? Leave your comments below.

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