Tony Armatrading: Colour Blind and Notting Hill actor dies aged 59 of cancer

Actor was the younger brother of singer Joan Armatrading

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 11 May 2021 08:11
comments
Armatrading in 1981 (left) and in 1998 TV series Colour Blind
Armatrading in 1981 (left) and in 1998 TV series Colour Blind

Tony Armatrading, who was best known for roles in Notting Hill and The Saint, has died aged 59 of cancer.

News of the actor’s death was announced on Monday (10 May) by The Archers star Tim Bentinck, who remembered Armatrading as his “dearest friend”.

Bentinck shared a picture to Twitter of the actor with his wife Suzan Crowley and their dog Dash sat around his hospital bed on Sunday night (9 May).

“Very sad news,” Bentinck wrote. “My dearest friend Tony Armatrading died of cancer an hour ago.

“I had the privilege of being his best man, and loved him dearly. He was a wonderful actor, and a true friend. This pic of him with Suzy and Dash [was] taken last night.”

Born in Birmingham in 1961, Armatrading was the younger brother of Grammy and Brit-nominated singer Joan Armatrading.

He began his career in the theatre, originally working behind the scenes at the Birmingham Rep. He later worked as a member of the stage crew at the National Theatre.

However, Armatrading made the move to acting with a performance in an NT production of Measure for Measure, later continuing his Shakespeare career with three seasons at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

On the screen, he appeared on the BBC series Empire Road, the country’s first drama series with an all-black cast, in 1979. He went on to act in soaps such as Brookside and The Bill, as well as starring in TV series Colour Blind in 1998.

He played roles in two high-profile Hollywood films in the late 1990s: that of a customs officer in 1997’s The Saint and a security guard in 1999’s Notting Hill, in which he allows Hugh Grant’s character onto a film set in order to win back Julia Roberts’s Anna Scott.

Moving to Los Angeles, Armatrading went on to play a number of small roles in US TV series in the 2000s, his final role appearing in the 2020 reboot of Hawaii Five-O.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments