The actor, most famous for playing Manuel in the BBC comedy, was diagnosed with vascular dementia.
It was announced today that another comedy great has died after battling dementia. The much-loved actor Andrew Sachs had been diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012, and died in a care home last week, aged 86.
His co-star John Cleese led the tributes to Sachs on Twitter, saying,
‘Just heard about Andy Sachs. Very sad. I knew he was having problems with his memory as his wife Melody told me a couple of years ago, and I heard very recently that he had been admitted to Denham [sic] Hall, but I had no idea that his life was in danger. A very sweet gentle and kind man and a truly great farceur. I first saw him in Habeas Corpus on stage in 1973. I could not have found a better Manuel. Inspired.’
Samuel West, whose mother, Prunella Scales, starred alongside Sachs in Fawlty Towers, and who also has dementia added:
‘Creator of one of our most beloved EU migrants. Such warmth and wit; impossible to think of him without smiling.’
The waiter, who famously hailed from Barcelona, often said little more than the word “¿Que?” to generate laughs, but arguably his most famous line was “I know nothing.”
Later on, he also gained fame playing Ramsay Clegg in Coronation Street.
Director of BBC content, Charlotte Moore, paid tribute to Sachs saying:
‘He will be fondly remembered for his many appearances across television and radio, not least for making the nation laugh in the classic role of Manuel. He entertained millions across a brilliant career and will be greatly missed.’
Sachs was born in Berlin in 1930. His father was a Jewish insurance broker, and his family fled the Nazis to settle in Britain.
His wife Melody said of his diagnosis and fight with dementia,
‘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.
‘Dementia is the most awful illness. It sneaks in in the night, when you least expect it. It took a long time for Andy’s brain to go. Even about a month before he died, he was sitting in the garden and chatting away.
‘Don’t feel sorry for me because I had the best life with him. I had the best husband and we really loved each other … We were married for 57 years, we loved each other very deeply and it was a pleasure looking after him. I miss him terribly.’