Peter Bowles, the British star of shows including “To The Manor Born” and “Rumpole of the Bailey,” has died. He was 85.
Bowles died from cancer, according to his agency Gavin Barker Associates.
The agency said in a statement: “The actor Peter Bowles has sadly passed away at the age of 85 from cancer. Starting his career at the Old Vice Theatre in 1956, he starred in 45 theatrical productions ending at the age of 81 in ‘The Exorcist’ at the Phoenix Theatre. He worked consistently on stage and screen, becoming a household name on TV as the archetypal English gent in ‘To The Manor Born,’ ‘Only When I Laugh,’ ‘The Bounder’ and ‘Lytton’s Diary,’ which he devised himself. He leaves his wife of over 60 years, Sue, and their three children Guy, Adam and Sash.”
Bowles was best known for his role in long-running 1980s BBC sitcom “To The Manor Born,” in which he starred opposite Penelope Keith. In the show, Bowles played Richard, a new money millionaire who buys a country estate from newly-widowed Audrey (played by Keith). Audrey moves into a cottage on the estate and proceeds to have a love-hate relationship with Richard, which eventually ends in love when they married at the end of the series. A one-off special aired in 2007 in which they were shown to be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.
Bowles also starred in dozens of TV, film and theater productions, including features “The Bank Job,” “Endless Night,” and “Lilting” (pictured above). He had a recurring role in “Rumpole of the Bailey” as silk (and later judge) Guthrie Featherstone QC as well as appearing in “Poirot: The Third Girl” and playing poet Byron in “Shelley.”
He won ITV Personality of the Year in 1983 and The Golden Gate Award at San Francisco International Film Festival a decade later. In 2002 he was made an Hon. Doctor of Letters at Nottingham Trent University.
Bowles is survived by his wife and three children.