Eddington loses cancer fight

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The Independent Online

The actor Paul Eddington, best known for his roles in Yes Prime Minister and The Good Life, has died after losing a battle against skin cancer spanning more than 30 years.

Eddington, whose performances as the bumbling Prime Minister Jim Hacker earned him the admiration of Lady Thatcher, is understood to have been with his family at his east London home when he died on Saturday night. He was 68.

He had been receiving treatment for diabetes and mycosis fungoides, a rare form of skin cancer, for many years. He kept his cancer secret until around a year ago when treatment resulted in his hair falling out and his skin turning dark brown.

He will be best remembered as the hen-pecked husband Jerry in The Good Life with Penelope Keith, Richard Briers and Felicity Kendall before moving on to play the MP Hacker in Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister with Nigel Hawthorne. He was awarded a CBE in 1987. In recent months, his condition deteriorated considerably to the extent that he spoke of his concern that his appearance might have offended people.

In one interview, he said: "There's a stigma attached to one's appearance. People are reluctant to shake hands with you if they see you festering, and you can understand it. I look in the mirror every morning and it gives me a bit of a fright."

Eddington's career began at 18 when he joined the Entertainments National Service Association, playing in front of troops during the Second World War. After the war he worked in repertory theatre, where he met his wife, Patricia Scott, whom he married in 1952. They had four children.