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Ex-William Tell and Fawlty Towers actor Conrad Phillips dies aged 90

Published 13/01/2016

Conrad Phillips made an appearance in Fawlty Towers
Conrad Phillips made an appearance in Fawlty Towers

Actor Conrad Phillips, who featured in an episode of Fawlty Towers, died at the age of 90 on Wednesday after a short illness, his family confirmed.

Born Conrad Havord in London in 1925, he enlisted in the Navy at 17 by forging an older birth date on his ration book before studying at Rada and appearing in both repertory theatre and on the West End stage.

He landed his best known role as the eponymous hero in ITV's The Adventures Of William Tell in 1958, which featured cameos from Christopher Lee, Michael Caine and Sid James among others, and lasted for 39 episodes.

An early accident on set where Phillips fell down a 12-foot drop and injured his knee and ankle led to him filming the final episode from a wheelchair and contributed towards the severe back pain, two replacement knees and replacement hip that brought a premature end to his acting career in 1991.

Among his notable TV roles was as Mr Lloyd in the 1975 Wedding Party episode of Fawlty Towers, playing the father of a family that hotelier Basil (John Cleese) mistakenly believes to be a wife-swapping group involving maid Polly.

Towards the end of his career, he would play Stefan, William Tell's mentor, in Crossbow, a 1987 updated version of the Swiss folk tale, that included guest appearances from Brian Blessed and Roger Daltrey.

He died at his home in Chippenham, Wiltshire. He is survived by wife Jennie, daughters Kate and Sarah, and grandchildren Alice and Leo.

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