Peter Bowles, who was best known for his role as Richard DeVere in the 1979 TV sitcom To the Manor Born has died, age 85.
The actor’s management agency revealed Bowles had “sadly passed away at the age of 85 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,” the statement said.
“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 and raised in Nottingham, Bowles was the son of a valet and nanny.
The London-born actor began his career at the age of 20 on stage, performing at the Old Vic Theatre – his final act coming a great 61 years later.
In the early years of his on-screen acting, Bowles played the villain in shows like The Avengers and The Saint before becoming a household name in his 40s for his role in To the Manor Born, featuring his famous moustache and starring alongside Dame Penelope.
Bowles starred in an array of TV shows including Only When I Laugh, Lytton’s Diary, The Bounder and Perfect Scoundrels, with reports also saying he had declined a role in The Good Life.
“If you have a great popular TV success, particularly in comedy, people don’t think you can act on stage,” Bowles said previously to the PA news agency about his success in TV.
“People thought I was just a sitcom actor and the BBC told me I’d never work in drama again. I didn’t realise there were two worlds. It was new to me. I found it very odd and frustrating.”
Piers Morgan led the tributes for the British actor on social media:
RIP Peter Bowles, 85.
Wonderful actor who exuded roguish British charm. Loved him in To The Manor Born, Lytton’s Diary & The Bounder. Sad news. pic.twitter.com/VSFHQmhS7f
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 17, 2022
Sad news about Peter Bowles. For me he will always be Major Yeates from the Irish/UK comedy drama from the 80s. It figured large in my childhood as Dad produced the music for it and we got to visit the set. This show poster still hangs in my parents hall… https://t.co/hEVjGJXYi6 pic.twitter.com/asYw9eahFT
— Tattybits (@Tattybits) March 17, 2022
A great loss to the world of TV today with the passing of actor Peter Bowles, aged 85. Always suave, charming and commanding on screen, he was impeccable as Richard DeVere in To The Manor Born – one of the most watched TV shows in history! pic.twitter.com/IBSqOQ9KFa
— TheShipYard (@TheShipYardUST) March 17, 2022
Bowles is survived by his wife, Sue and his three children: Guy, Adam and Sasha.