John Challis death: Only Fools and Horses star dies, aged 79

Actor died ‘peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer’

Jacob Stolworthy
Sunday 19 September 2021 21:03
Only Fools and Horses actor John Challis dies aged 79

Sir David Jason is among the Only Fools And Horses cast members who have paid tribute to actor John Challis following his death at the aged of 79.

“He was a wonderful actor, a gentleman in the true sense of the word and I know he will be missed by so many,” said Sir David, who played Del Boy in the beloved sitcom alongside Challis as second-hand car dealer Boycie.

Also paying tribute was Sue Holderness, who played his on-screen partner Marlene.

She said in a statement: "Marlene without Boycie, it's unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day."

Challis’ family said that he died “peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer”.

“It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news,” his family said in a statement. “He will always be loved for being ‘Boycie’ and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come.”

The statement continued: “Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John’s life – when everyone will be welcome to come along.”

Challis played Boycie throughout Only Fools and Horses’ 22-year run. His character’s real name was Herman Terrance Aubrey Boyce.

John Challis was best known for playing ‘Boycie’ in ‘Only Fools and Horses’

The actor reprised the role for his own spinoff, titled The Green Green Grass, alongside Holderness.

Most recently, he appeared in ITV series Benidorm, playing Monty Staines.

Challis was born in Bristol, but his family moved to south east London when he was just one. He worked as an estate agent before becoming a professional actor.

Before his big break in Only Fools, he appeared in Big Breadwinner Hog in 1969, and between 1971 and 1975, made regular appearances in Z-Cars, playing Sergeant Culshaw.

The actor also has several stage roles, performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s.

In 2014, he toured a one-man show titled Only Fools and Boycie, which charted his life before, during and after his time as the popular character.

Challis was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and was forced to cancel several tours.

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