Prescot Actor Sam Kelly Dies, Aged 70
Stage, film and TV actor Sam Kelly has passed away at the age of 70.
The performer was best-known for a succession of TV comedy roles, including ‘Bunny’ Warren in the BBC sitcom Porridge and Captain Hans Geering in Allo Allo (pictured).
Born in Eccles, Manchester, in 1943, Roger Kelly moved to Prescot in 1948 and attended Eccleston Lane Ends Primary School. As a chorister at Liverpool Cathedral, he completed his childhood education at Liverpool Collegiate.
Even as an adult studying drama at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in the sixties, Sam – his adopted stage name – returned during the holidays to his family home in Derwent Avenue, Prescot, and to work at Whiston Hospital.
As well as Porridge and Allo Allo, Sam had major roles in On the Up, alongside Dennis Waterman and Joan Sims, and Barbara, with Gwen Taylor.
He was a particularly close friend and admirer of Ronnie Barker, having made multiple appearances on The Two Ronnies, and he toured Australia with the comic duo.
In film, Sam enjoyed a long association with writer and director Mike Leigh, appearing in Topsy Turvy (1999) and All or Nothing (2002) and others.
His first love remained the theatre, however; he had begun his acting career treading the amateur boards at the Rainhill Garrick Society.
In recent years, he found great success as the Wizard of Oz in the hit West End musical Wicked.
He returned to the role late last year but withdrew in February 2014, due to illness.
He passed away on 14 June 2014 of cancer.