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Brit Comic Actor Gorden Kaye Dies Aged 75

Deadline logo Deadline 1/23/2017 Diana Lodderhose
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Gorden Kaye, the star who was best known for starring in the long-running hit BBC sitcom Allo, Allo!, has died at the age of 75.

The star’s former agency confirmed to the BBC that the comic actor died on Monday in a care home.

Kaye, played café owner Réné in the much-loved Brit sitcom Allo, Allo!, which aired on BBC One from 1982 to 1992. He starred in all 84 episodes of the show, which focussed on the fictional exploits of of French Resistance fighter during WWII in German-occupied France, as well as a stage version in 1988 and a one-off revival in 2007. The risky comedy, which poked fun at national stereotypes, was filled with double entendres, catchphrases and running jokes that attracted audiences for a decade.

Born in the north of England in Huddersfield in 1941, Gordon Fitzgerald Kaye whetted his appetite for the entertainment business in 1965, when he interviewed The Beatles while working in hospital radio. He soon signed up to a radio play, directed by playwright and director Alan Ayckbourne, who was so impressed with his performance that he suggested he audition for a theater company.

Kaye made his TV debut in BBC Yorkshire’s Champion House in 1968 and professionally, he became known as Gorden, a spelling which he said came from a typing error at the actors’ union Equity. He said that this was “the result of a misspelt youth.”

But he got his first big break with a role in popular ITV soap Coronation Street, where he played Bernard Butler. He subsequently appeared in a host of roles in sitcoms including Till Death Us Do Part, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and Are You Being Served before he landed his lead role in Allo, Allo!

After a decade as Réné, Kaye’s career was halted in 1990 when he was critically injured after a piece of wood smashed through his car windscreen during a violent storm. The freak accident left him with severe head injuries and he underwent a five-and-a-half hour emergency brain surgery.

As well as television, Kaye had roles in films such as Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and Jabberwocky.

His last screen role was in BBC sketch show Revolver in 2004.

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