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Richard Briers dies aged 79

One of Britain’s best-loved actors, Richard Briers, has died at the age of 79.

His agent, Christopher Farrar, said he passed away peacefully at his home in London yesterday (February 17).

Farrar said: “Richard was a wonderful man, a consummate professional and an absolute joy to work alongside. Following his recent discussion of his battle with emphysema, I know he was incredibly touched by the strength of support expressed by friends and the public.”

He added: “He has a unique and special place in the hearts of so many. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go to his family at this sad time.”

For years, Briers had been suffering from emphysema that he blamed on smoking. He was best known for his role in the BBC’s 1970s comedy series, The Good Life, in which he and his wife, played by Felicity Kendal, tried to turn their Surbiton home into a self-sufficient farm.

In the 1980s, he was equally popular in another comedy, Ever Decreasing Circles. Later, he proved he could also be a fine serious actor, joining Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company and playing Malvolio. He followed that with King Lear and the title role in Uncle Vanya. More recently, he appeared in the National Theatre’s 2010 production of London Assurance.

A full obituary will appear in a future print edition of The Stage.