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Wife’s touching tribute as Fawlty Towers legend Andrew Sachs dies at 86 after four-year battle with dementia

By Staff Reporter

Published 02/12/2016

Andrew Sachs (left) and as Manuel alongside John Cleese in Fawlty Towers
Andrew Sachs (left) and as Manuel alongside John Cleese in Fawlty Towers
Andrew Sachs

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs has died at the age of 86 following a four-year battle with dementia.

The actor, who was best known for his portrayal of put-upon Spanish waiter Manuel in the 1970s sitcom, died in a care home last night.

His wife of 56 years who cared for him in his later years, Melody, said: "My heart has been broken every day for a long time."

Ms Sachs said he had first been diagnosed with dementia in 2012 but had continued to work for a further two years before his illness became too much.

She revealed she had suffered from acute stress while caring for him and was briefly admitted to hospital but said they remained happily married until the end.

She said: "It wasn't all doom and gloom, he still worked for two years.

"We were happy, we were always laughing, we never had a dull moment. He had dementia for four years and we didn't really notice it at first until the memory started going.

"It didn't get really bad until quite near the end. I nursed Andrew, I was there for every moment of it."

She said "dementia is the most awful illness" that "sneaks in in the night when you least expect it".

Sachs, who was born in Berlin in 1930 to a Roman Catholic mother and a Jewish father, had a long and successful career in British TV.

He started out performing in radio productions for the BBC in the late 1950s before making his screen debut in the 1959 film The Night We Dropped a Clanger.

But his biggest claim to fame was playing Manuel in the hit comedy Fawlty Towers.

He later found success with starring roles in Coronation Street and as a narrator on many TV documentaries.

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