Andy Capp's creator dies

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CARTOONIST Reg Smythe, who created the working-class comic strip hero Andy Capp, has died, aged 81.

The artist modelled the character on his father, while Flo - Andy's wife - was based on his mother Florence. His other main influences were memories of his childhood in Hartlepool, where he died from cancer early yesterday.

The character first appeared in northern editions of the Daily Mirror in August 1957 but soon became a national fixture. The scourge of feminists for his chauvinistic, idle ways, his fame spread as the comic strip was syndicated around the world. He later became the subject of a stage musical and a television series in Britain starring James Bolam.

In an interview Smythe said of Andy: "He was just there waiting: the next door neighbour, the bloke in the local ... Andy Capps are all over the place."