Gary Waldhorn, the actor best known for his role of Councillor David Horton in the Dawn French comedy, Vicar of Dibley, has died at the age of 78.
Waldhorn’s son Josh confirmed to BBC News that his father died on Monday, saying in a statement: “Classically trained, it was the theatre where he truly flourished and he leaves a legacy of entertainment that saw him frequent the boards of Broadway, the West End and our living rooms on the telly!”
His time as the Dibley Town Council chairman marked his final acting role. Prior to initially being against having a ‘female vicar’ in Dibley, his on-going put downs of his son, Hugo, and his constant battles with the other members of the Dibley Town Council, Waldhorn began his television career in the late 1960s, starting off in the drama Take Three Girls before landing recurring roles in Softly, Softly: Taskforce and The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs.
He went on to appear in films such as Zeppelin, The Great Riviera Bank Robbery, Escape to Victory and The Chain, and TV shows including Space: 1999, Enemy at the Door, The Professionals, Edward & Mrs Simpson, The Gentle Touch and Minder.
Waldhorn was also a regular on the Royal Shakespeare Company stage, appearing in the RSC production of Good in 1981. As for his other theatre roles, the actor appeared in Black Comedy alongside David Tennant on the West End in 1998 and played the title role in Henry IV at the Old Vic.
It was the theatre that first gave a young Gary Waldhorn his chosen career path. “I liked acting as a child and I remember as a first-former in London we were given tickets to the Old Vic to see a Shakespeare play,” he once recalled.
“I saw Richard Burton play Henry V and my life changed. I came home and said, ‘I wanted to be a Shakespearian actor.‘”
Waldhorn was also best known for playing Lionel Bainbridge in John Esmonde/Bob Larbey sitcom Brush Strokes. Waldhorn starred alongside Karl Howman (Mulberry) in the BBC One series from 1986 until 1991 before joining the cast of the Richard Curtis created comedy series.
R.I.P, Gary Waldhorn. Thank you for the years of laughter, past, present and for years to come.