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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Actor Victor Spinetti dies at 82

Victor Spinetti has died at the age of 82
Victor Spinetti has died at the age of 82

Veteran actor Victor Spinetti, whose notable roles included appearances in three Beatles films, has died at the age of 82.

The Welsh star, who appeared in a string of acclaimed movies as well as taking roles in the West End and on Broadway, died in a Monmouth hospice following a fight with pancreatic cancer, his agent said.

The versatile actor was able to easily turn his hand from serious classical roles to comedy performances and roles in sitcoms. He has also been a successful stage director, wrote poetry and became known for his appearances in a Jaffa Cake ad campaign.

Cwm-born Spinetti - who studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff - had worked as a waiter before finding his feet as an actor.

He landed his role in the first of the Beatles' films following the success of the London production of Oh! What a Lovely War which was seen by George Harrison and John Lennon, as well as the director and screenwriter for 1964's A Hard Day's Night, Walter Shenson and Alun Owen.

"I was known to them. But I wasn't prepared for the fantastic and wonderful reception I got from them, which was to be totally accepted," he recalled of their meeting.

Spinetti went on to make more than 30 film appearances including The Return of the Pink Panther and Under Milk Wood.

Among visitors during his last few days was close friend Barbara Windsor, on whose Radio 2 show he made a recent appearance - one of his final recordings. She said of Spinetti: "He had Jo Malone candles and sprays in the room - it had to be mandarin. I joked that it smelt like a tart's parlour. We laughed and laughed.

"We just chatted and chatted and talked about old things. But he said, 'let's not talk about all that, let's talk about the future'.

The actress, who has been presenting a two-part radio series about Clubland, added: "He was on my Radio 2 show and I got the nurses to wake him up to hear it."

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