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Obituary: Trevor ‘Ziggy’ Byfield

Trevor ‘Ziggy’ Byfield performing in the 1970s

Trevor Byfield’s career was unusual in its division between his Ziggy Byfield persona – in which he was prominent in the fashion for rock musicals in the early 1970s – and his later focus on straight acting, for which he reverted to his given name.

Born in Redditch, Worcestershire, he spent his childhood playing in Salvation Army bands before venturing on to the club circuit as a “singing ’n’ gagging” guitarist, with The Stage approvingly comparing him to Des O’Connor.

In 1970, he joined the rock musical Hair, then entering its third year at the Shaftesbury Theatre, to play the hippie activist Berger.

Two years later he was seen in another rock musical, the short-lived Mother Earth, at the Roundhouse and in 1973 found himself in Richard O’Brien’s cult hit The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as Eddie and Dr Scott at the Classic Cinema, Chelsea. The following year he took over the role of Dr Frank N Furter (the “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania”) reprising it in 1975 for a tour of Japan. He was also seen in the 1979 British touring revival.

As Ziggy Byfield and the Blackheart Band, he made an unsuccessful attempt at chart fame with an album in 1980, and with Peter Perchard co-wrote Virgin Warrior, a rock musical about Joan of Arc, for Epsom Playhouse in 1986.

Around the same time, he decided to concentrate on acting (having made his stage debut in Aladdin at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1967) and was seen as Captain Hook in Epsom’s 1986 Christmas show, Peter Pan.

Notable appearances in a four-decade-long television career included the suitor caught in a menage a trois, Yesterday’s Dreams (1987), football drama The Manageress (1989-90), Paul Mendelson’s early 1990s’ comedy So Haunt Me and the Paula Milne thriller Thursday the 12th (2003).

In later years, he preferred to be known as Zig Byfield, appearing as such in Casualty, EastEnders, Lewis, New Tricks, Holby City, Doctors and a 2009 episode of Heartbeat. During the filming of Heartbeat, he was seriously injured while driving a tractor.

His film appearances included Who Dares Wins (1982), Fool’s Gold (1992) and Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as James Bond, 1995’s GoldenEye.

Trevor Mills Byfield was born on October 20, 1943, and died on October 11, aged 73. He is survived by two sons.

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