Kenny Ireland dead: Benidorm actor dies aged 68

The Scottish actor's agent said he had been ill with cancer for some time, and passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning

Kenny Ireland, the actor who played ageing swinger Donald Stewart in ITV comedy series Benidorm, has died aged 68.

The Scottish actor's agent said he had been ill with cancer for some time, and passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Last month, his character was written out of Benidorm while the he underwent treatment.

Ireland also appeared in the Acorn Antiques segment of 1980s comedy programme Victoria Wood As Seen on TV.

He also leant his talents to TV programmesTaggart and the original version of House of Cards.

Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre led tributes to the actor on Thursday, where he was director for over a decade – staging over 30 productions including Phaedra, Waiting for Godot, and Dancing at Lughnasa.

The intuition credited him with nurturing young actors to perform on stage, and establishing the Lyceum Youth Theatre – one of the longest running and largest youth theatres in Scotland.

 

"Kenny was Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company for over 10 years, from 1992-2003, although his connection with the company goes further back than that,” the theatre said in a statement.

"An outspoken supporter of cutwilture in Scotland, and in particular the value of theatre in public life, Kenny Ireland was a strong proponent of a National Theatre for Scotland and a genuine, passionate  champion of the arts.

"He is an important part of the Lyceum’s story and of the story of theatre in Scotland and he will be greatly missed."

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond also paid his respects, tweeting: “Sad to hear Kenny Ireland - a great actor and former director @lyceumtheatre - has passed away. Deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Fellow Benidorm actor Tony Maudsley also expressed his sadness that Ireland had passed away.

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