Are You Being Served? actor Frank Thornton dies aged 92

The former WWII pilot and 'consummate performer' had been acting since 1940

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The Independent Culture

Comedy actor Frank Thornton has died, aged 92.

Most famous as Captain Peacock in are You Being Served?, he died in his sleep in the early hours of Saturday morning, his agent David Daly has said.

Daly said: "Frank is survived by Beryl, his wife of 67 years, daughter Jane and their three grandchildren.

"I have been Frank's agent since 1986 and he has been the most wonderful client as well as being a great friend. He will be sorely missed."

Thornton, who was born in Dulwich, worked in insurance after leaving school but studied acting at evening class.

He made his professional stage debut in 1940 with a production of French Without Tears in Ireland, and would serve in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

By 1954 he had picked up his first film credit in the crime movie Radio Cab Murder.

By the 1960s he was becoming a familiar face with roles in movies such as Carry On Screaming, but it was in the 1970s that he became a household name with the huge success of Are You Being Served?, which ran from 1972 to 1985. His co-star Nicholas Smith said: "He was the best actor in Are You Being Served?"

He was the last of the original main members of the show, and went on to appear in its successor series, Grace & Favour.

Stage success continued with a well-received run in Me And My Girl in the West End, and many touring productions.

In more recent years he was familiar to viewers for his role as Truly in long-running Last Of The Summer Wine, in a cast of veteran comedy actors.

Are You Being Served? co-creator Jeremy Lloyd paid tribute to Thornton, saying he was "very sad to hear this news".

"He was a great friend and consummate performer who was the glue who really held Are You Being Served? together," he said.

"He will continue to give people enjoyment."