Bill May­nard, lov­able rogue of Heart­beat, is dead at 89

Daily Mail - - News - By Laura Lambert TV and Ra­dio Re­porter

‘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

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