Director of 'Monty Python,' 'Mr. Bean' TV Series Dies at 72

Mary Evans/J ARTHUR RANK FILMS/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection
John Howard Davies in "Oliver Twist"

John Howard Davies, who was just eight years old when he starred in the David Lean version of "Oliver Twist," died Monday after a battle with cancer.

LONDON -- He was the plaintive child star in David Lean's 1948 adaptation of Oliver Twist who went on to produce some of the most iconic British comedies.

John William Davies, who died Monday at 72 years old after a battle with cancer, had starred alongside Alec Guinness as Fagin in the black-and-white movie aged just eight, and went on to have a hugely successful career producing and directing TV shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers -- both of which earned him BAFTA awards.

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He also produced TV favorites including The Good Life, The Goodies and Steptoe and Son as well as producing the pilot for Blackadder and the first episodes of Mr. Bean.

"My father had an absolutely extraordinary career, was unfailingly supportive as a parent and will be greatly missed," his son William Davies said.

In a tweet, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts said it was "very sad" to learn of the producer's death.