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British sitcom legend Geoffrey Palmer dead at 93: Butterflies and As Time Goes By star dies at home

British sitcom legend Geoffrey Palmer dead at 93: Butterflies and As Time Goes By star dies peacefully at home

  • The star died peacefully at home and had parts in some of Britain’s best-loved series through the ages
  •  Speaking in 2018 collaborator Dame Judi Dench said he was the ‘naughtiest man I have ever worked with’
  •  He is survived by his wife Sally Green, with whom he had a daughter and a son

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Actor Geoffrey Palmer, known for his roles in such sitcoms as Butterflies, As Time Goes By and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, has died aged 93.

The veteran star – known for his hangdog features and distinctive voice – passed away peacefully at home.

He had parts in some of Britain’s best-loved series and was once a staple on screens watched by millions of fans.

Younger viewers will remember his turn in the 2014 Paddington film where he played Head Geographer.

His agent said simply in a statement: ‘We regret to sadly announce that the actor Geoffrey Palmer died peacefully at home yesterday aged 93’.

Geoffrey Palmer and his wife Sally at the The Dr Who Christmas Episode premiere in 2007

Geoffrey starred with frequent collaborator Dame Judi Dench in the TV hit As Time Goes By

Geoffrey starred with frequent collaborator Dame Judi Dench in the TV hit As Time Goes By  

He was also known for his role in Butterflies alongside Wendy Craig and Nicholas Lyndhurst as well as Andrew Hall

He was also known for his role in Butterflies alongside Wendy Craig and Nicholas Lyndhurst as well as Andrew Hall

The veteran star died peacefully at home and had parts in some of Britain's best-loved series spanning decades

The veteran star died peacefully at home and had parts in some of Britain’s best-loved series spanning decades

His most famous acting parts saw him star alongside another treasure of the screen Dame Judi Dench. 

As Time Goes By saw Palmer as Lionel Hardcastle alongside Dame Judi as Jean Mary Hardcastle in the BBC One romantic sitcom between 1992 and 2005.

And speaking in 2018, Dame Judi said the actor was the ‘naughtiest man I have ever worked with’.

As she presented him with the Oldie Of The Year title during an awards ceremony for The Oldie magazine, she added: ‘I wish wish wish that this was the awards for ‘most promising newcomer’ or maybe even ‘the naughtiest man I ever had the pleasure to work with’, but it’s not.’

‘I’m going to quote Bernard Shaw as he said about Ellen Terry ‘she never seemed old to me’. Well, nor you to me,’ Dame Judi said. 

Palmer starring in Executive Stress in 1986 as the character of Donald Fairchild as his star continued to rise in showbiz

Palmer starring in Executive Stress in 1986 as the character of Donald Fairchild as his star continued to rise in showbiz

Palmer and Dame Judi also starred together in James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, which was released in 1997. 

He would reunite with her again in the Madness of Kind George to much acclaim.

But his early life had little in it to suggest he would one day become such a famous face on British television screens.

He was born in London in 1927 and did national service with the Royal Marines and trained recruits. 

Incredibly he had qualified as an accountant and has considered a life working with money.

But he always had a hankering for the stage and his girlfriend persuaded him to sign up with a local dramatic society. 

It was to start an incredible career in the limelight that saw him travel the globe acting.

His features often saw him play intolerant characters, but he insisted ‘I’m not grumpy, I just look this way’. 

He was a keen fisherman and in an interview last year with the Oldie said he took a day casting his line over a plum part in a movie.

Palmer told them last year: ‘Once I was offered a super part in a film – but the date clashed with fishing in Scotland.

‘My son Charlie said, “Dad, you’ve been working for sixty years – do the fishing.” So I did. And the film wasn’t any good, anyway.’    

He is survived by his wife Sally Green, with whom he had a daughter and a son. 

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