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Peter Bowles, who rose to fame in the U.K. starring opposite Penelope Keith in the BBC sitcom To the Manor Born, has died. He was 85.
His agent confirmed the news to the BBC, saying Bowles had passed away from cancer.
“Starting his career at the Old Vic Theatre in 1956, he starred in 45 theatrical productions, ending at the age of 81 in The Exorcist at the Phoenix Theatre,” his rep added. “He worked consistently on stage and screen, becoming a household name on TV as the archetypal English gent in To the Manor Born, Only When I Laugh, The Bounder and Lytton’s Diary, which he devised himself.”
Born in London in 1936, Bowles grew up in Nottingham and won a scholarship to London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada). Beginning on stage, he soon moved to TV before becoming something of an overnight success thanks to To the Manor Born, playing a nouveau riche millionaire supermarket owner. The show originally ran for three seasons on the BBC from 1979 to 1981, before returning for a one-off special episode in 2007.
Bowles also appeared in films including The Bank Job, Eyewitness and The Steal, while his most recent TV role was as the Duke of Wellington in ITV’s period royal drama Victoria alongside Jenna Colman from 2016 to 2019.
“He leaves his wife of over 60 years, Sue, and their three children Guy, Adam and Sasha,” Bowles’ agent said.
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