Wednesday 20 June 2018

Actor and political campaigner 'Scouse git' Booth dies at 85

Warren Mitchell and, right, Tony Booth in BBC comedy ‘Till Death Us Do Part’. Photo: PA
Warren Mitchell and, right, Tony Booth in BBC comedy ‘Till Death Us Do Part’. Photo: PA

Dan Smith

British actor Tony Booth, who played "Scouse git" Mike in 1960s sitcom 'Till Death Us Do Part', has died aged 85.

Booth, who was the father of Cherie Blair, died on Monday night, his family has announced.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2004 and had also suffered heart problems.

A statement released on behalf of his wife Steph Booth said: "It is with sadness we announce the death of Antony Booth, actor and political campaigner.

"Tony passed away with close family members in attendance.

"The family ask for their privacy to be respected at this time."

Booth's character in the hugely popular sitcom reflected his own left-wing political beliefs.

He was known to television viewers as "Scouse git" Mike, the long-haired left-wing son-in-law of right-wing cockney Alf Garnett in 'Till Death Us Do Part'.

The sitcom aired on the BBC for 10 years from 1965-75, and there was a sequel and remakes in other countries, notably a hugely popular version in the US, 'All In The Family', as well as a film version.

When Booth's son-in-law Tony Blair became British prime minister in 1997, his political views proved to be an occasional thorn in Mr Blair's side.

Booth, who joined the Labour Party at the age of 15, railed against "androids" at Labour's Millbank HQ in 1999 and a year later said his daughter's husband had stuffed the House of Lords with "Tony's cronies".

He also criticised the Blairs for choosing to send their eldest son to the selective London Oratory School.

The gripes did not stop there, with Booth accusing the British government of "ruthlessly" squashing the pay demands of striking firefighters and being "prepared to throw away billions" on the Iraq war rather than spending the money on pensioners.

Booth was married four times and fathered eight daughters, including Mrs Blair.

He remained close to his daughter despite the political differences between him and his son-in-law.

He and wife Steph lived in Co Cavan for two years from 2003 until he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and the couple returned to England.

Irish Independent

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