Bill Maynard, lovable rogue of Heartbeat, is dead at 89
‘A colourful and mischievous talent’
HE was the larger-than-life TV star whose career spanned more than 80 years, with more than 100 credits to his name.
Bill Maynard will be best remembered for playing curmudgeonly rogue Claude Jeremiah Greengrass in Heartbeat, but was one of the great jobbing actors of his generation.
Yesterday, former colleagues paid tribute to the comedian and actor, who died aged 89 shortly after breaking his hip in a fall from his mobility scooter.
His daughter-in-law Jacqueline Reddin, who is also an actress, said: ‘He was larger than life and he just loved showbiz. He was so proud of the fact that he had been working for 81 years.’
Although his eight years as Greengrass in ITV’s long-running Yorkshire drama Heartbeat made him a household name, Maynard enjoyed a long and varied career.
He starred in countless sitcoms and dramas from British TV and film studios, including Oh No, It’s Selwyn Frog- gitt!, The Gaffer and several Carry On films.
And yesterday’s tributes were equally numerous, with fellow actors describing him as a ‘lovely friend’ and saying it had been a ‘blessing’ to work with him.
Actor Ian Champion, who worked with Maynard on Heartbeat, wrote: ‘RIP Bill Maynard. I had the blessing of working with him in Heartbeat back in 2000. He was a colourful, warm and mischievous talent.’
Fellow Heartbeat star Tricia Penrose, who played Gina Ward in the 1960s drama, wrote: ‘R.I.P my lovely friend Bill Maynard, it was only a few weeks ago I worked with you.’
A Twitter account in Maynard’s name, which is run by a representative, wrote: ‘It is with an absolute heavy heart to announce that Bill has passed away. Such a hugely talented man with a hunger to act right up until the end. You will be missed hugely. God bless.
Born in Surrey in 1928, Maynard, whose real name was Wal- ter Williams, started performing at the age of eight, doing George Formby impressions in working men’s clubs.
He was a paid performer from the age of nine, and worked on the entertainment circuit until his mid-20s. In 1949 he married Muriel Linnett, after meeting her in the department store where he was working. They had two children together, Martin and Jane. His big break came in 1951, when he got a job at Butlin’s in Skegness, and met fellow comic Terry Scott. Just two years later he made his TV debut, in the BBC’s Face The Music, before he and Scott appeared together in Great Scott, It’s Maynard, for the BBC in 1955.
Over the next two decades he clocked up appearances in films and on TV including as the bumbling title character in Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt!, Till Death Us Do Part, Up Pompeii, Coronation Street and Love Thy Neighbour.
His wife died of cancer in 1983 and five years later he married Belgian Campbell, ace marriage Heartbeat, Donald was singer widow which Campbell, shortlived. Tonia began of speedboat but in Bern- 1992, the introduced generation of Maynard viewers to and a they new took him to their hearts over 155 episodes until 2000, when his character was written out after the actor suffered several strokes. His mobility was affected in later life and there was even a report in 2013 that he had died. It was partly that which prompted him to make a cameo appearance – on his mobility scooter – in the BBC drama Moorside last year. Maynard said in 2013 he got great satisfaction from making people laugh. ‘I’ve had an amazing career,’ he added.
Veteran: Maynard as Selwyn Froggitt in the 70s. He also played Greengrass in Heartbeat
He died after fall from mobility scooter