Tributes as 'true gent' Clarke dies
Actor Warren Clarke, whose roles included TV drama Dalziel And Pascoe, has been fondly remembered by showbusiness friends as "a true gent" following his death today at the age of 67.
The star, who also appeared in films such as Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, died after what was said to be a short illness.
Oldham-born Clarke was also known for his starring role in BBC series Down To Earth, about a family who leave the rat race to relocate to rural Devon, and more recently in Channel 4's Red Riding trilogy.
Richard E Grant, who acted and holidayed with him, called him "hilarious and irreverent".
David Morrissey said: "He was a very special man, a great actor. We had wonderful times together on Red Riding."
Lee Ingleby called him "a true gent", and comedian Jack Dee said he was a "brilliant, funny and generous man who was a joy to work with".
His death was announced by the agency which handled his career, Independent Talent Group.
A statement said: "The actor Warren Clarke died peacefully in his sleep on November 12 2014, after a short illness.
"He will be greatly missed by his family and loved ones. At this time we ask that you respect their privacy in their time of grief."
Clarke's hangdog look made him perfect for a number of bluff roles, among them his rough-around-the-edges guest role in Blackadder in which he famously remarked: "I'd no more place her in the hands of an unworthy man than I'd place my John Thomas in the hands of a lunatic with a pair of scissors."
In his early days as an actor, he had roles as two characters in Coronation Street in the late 1960s, before establishing his movie career as Dim, one of the thuggish droogs who enjoyed "ultraviolence" along with their ringleader Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell) in A Clockwork Orange.
His role went largely unseen for a generation after the director withdrew it shortly after its release, worried about a furore over supposed copycat attacks, and until it was eventually re-released it lived on in grainy pirate videos.
The last role he completed before his death was as Charles Poldark in a BBC revival of the 1970s TV drama Poldark.
Many viewers will know him for his performances as Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel - opposite Colin Buchanan - in the TV adaptation of Reginald Hill's stories about the chalk-and-cheese colleagues Dalziel and Pascoe.
It ran for 12 series from 1996 until its conclusion in 2007.
Other notable programmes have included the BBC adaptation of Bleak House nine years ago, while more recent performances have included a guest role in Midsomer Murders, a part in BBC1 hit Call The Midwife and a stage portrayal of Winston Churchill in Three Days In May.
Assessing his career in one interview, he said: "I got lucky with some of the things I did and happened to make bigger money. But I've never gone into anything thinking 'Oh, I'm going to make a fortune here'.
"I want to see the script, the character. I've been offered stuff in Hollywood but it was stuff I didn't want to be involved with."
Many paid tribute to Clarke today, with actor Reece Shearsmith, who shared a screen with him in an ITV drama, calling him "a very funny and lovely man".
Emmerdale actor John Bowe, who has also acted alongside him, said: "Safe journey, Warren. And no arguments on the way."
Sanjeev Bhaskar said his "gruff exterior masked a generous heart", adding that he was a "fine actor, fine man".
Actor Will Mellor called him a "good friend" and said in a message posted online: "So sad to hear the news. I can't believe it. Great man."
Writer and broadcaster Tony Parsons said: "Warren Clarke was wonderful for 40 years - from Dalziel And Pascoe all the way back to Dim in Clockwork Orange."
Clarke was a life-long Manchester City fan and his death was mourned by the club. City's official Twitter feed included a message which read: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Warren Clarke following sad news of the actor and MCFC fan's passing."