Nicky Henson: Stage and screen actor dies at 74

Nicky Henson

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Nicky Henson played the father of Honey in EastEnders

Actor Nicky Henson, who appeared in TV shows including Fawlty Towers, EastEnders and Downton Abbey, has died at the age of 74.

Henson starred in Fawlty Towers as Mr Johnson, a guest who got into trouble with John Cleese’s Basil Fawlty after trying to sneak a woman into his room.

A statement from the actor’s family said: “Nicky Henson has died after a long disagreement with cancer.”

He was first diagnosed with the disease almost 20 years ago.

He told the PA news agency last year: “For the last 18 years, I’ve regarded myself as ‘being in extra time’, which I never expected to have, so I’m very thankful for it.”

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Henson (right) incurred the wrath of John Cleese’s Basil Fawlty

He played Honey Edwards’ father Jack in EastEnders, and was entertainer Charles Grigg in Downton Abbey. His film credits included Vera Drake and Syriana, which starred George Clooney.

He also enjoyed a host of stage roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre, and was a founder member of the Young Vic.

Meanwhile, he recorded a pop single in 1961 and had a three-year contract writing songs for The Shadows and Cliff Richard.

Fellow actor Ian Ogilvy posted news of Henson’s death on Facebook, describing him as “my oldest and dearest friend”.

Henson was married twice, firstly to fellow actor Una Stubbs. They had two sons but the marriage ended in divorce.

Henson later wed ballerina Marguerite Porter, with whom he had another son. They were married for more than 30 years.

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