John Cleese celebrates ‘inspired’ Andrew Sachs, who has died at 86

Comic actor Andrew Sachs, best know for playing Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died following a battle with dementia

Andrew Sachs has died at the age of 86 following a four-year battle with dementia, and friends, fellow performers and fans are mourning the loss of the comic actor.

He’s is best remembered for his comedy role in sitcom Fawlty Towers, with many of those paying tribute to his work as character Manuel.

Andrew Sachs
Andrew and his wife Melody (PA)


John Cleese tweeted his sorrow at his co-star’s death…


Comedian and actor Sanjeev Bhaskar was sad to hear the news.


Tony Robinson had fond memories of him.


Samuel West paid tribute.


Andrew, a German-born British actor, was famous for his role as the bungling Spanish waiter Manuel in the hugely popular TV series Fawlty Towers.

But his repertoire spread far beyond that iconic comic figure, including playing roles such as Dr Watson in a Sherlock Holmes series and Jeeves in PG Wodehouse’s The Code Of The Woosters, both of them radio adaptations.

Andreas Siegfried Sachs was born in Berlin on April 7, 1930. When he was eight, his family moved to England to escape the Nazi persecution of Jews.

He shot to fame in his role of Manuel in the comedy series which ran from 1975 to 1979. It was a part in which he was constantly being bullied and harangued by the hotel proprietor, played by John Cleese.

Andrew Sachs
(Barry Batchelor/PA)


Sometimes he complained, although good-naturedly, that Cleese’s ‘bullying’ was so robust that he was more than once in pain.

It is a testament to the show that it was voted number one in the British Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Television Programmes in 2000 – despite the fact it ran for just 12 episodes and took three months to film.

Sachs said he had tried to convince Cleese to rewrite Manuel as a German waiter, playing to Sachs’ skills as a native German speaker. But the suggestion was dismissed – to award-winning effect.

Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs
(Ian West/PA)


From 1984 to 1986, Andrew starred as Father Brown in a BBC radio series based on the stories of GK Chesterton. He also appeared in numerous children’s TV shows, including William’s Wish Wellingtons and Starhill Ponies.

He was also a narrator on many television documentaries and radio productions. His narrations on audio books included CS Lewis’s Narnia series and Alexander McCall Smith’s first online book, Corduroy Mansions. Sachs also was the narrator for Peter Kay’s That Peter Kay Thing.

But so popular was his part in Fawlty Towers, that he released no fewer than four singles as Manuel, including Manuel’s Good Food Guide.

Andrew Sachs
(Tim Ireland/PA)


In 1981 ‘Manuel’ released a cover version of Joe Dolce’s UK Number One, Shaddap You Face, with Waiter, There’s A Flea In My Soup on the B side.

In October, 2008, Andrew was deeply upset by comedian Russell Brand and TV presenter Jonathan Ross, who left obscene and profane messages about his granddaughter on his answer-phone, and joked on air.

They suggested that Brand had had sexual relations with her and the comedian joked that Andrew might kill himself as a result.

More than 500 people protested to the BBC which was forced to apologise to Sachs for these ‘unacceptable and offensive’ remarks.

Andrew Sachs and his wife Melody
(Ian West/PA)

His public and television appearances waned and it was later revealed he spent his last four years living with vascular dementia.

He leaves a wife, Melody, who cared for him throughout his illness, and three children.


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