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Actor Terence Rigby dies

First Published 12 August 2008, Last Updated 5 February 2009

British actor Terence Rigby has died at the age of 71. He was suffering from lung cancer and passed away on Sunday at his London home.

A successful theatre, film and TV actor, Rigby was born in Birmingham in 1937. Developing an interest in the profession from his time in the Boy Scouts and at Grammar school, he auditioned to study at RADA after completing national service in the RAF.

Successfully gaining a place at the esteemed acting school, Rigby trained alongside Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and the late John Thaw. After graduating, he quickly began a career in the theatre and found success in Peter Hall’s production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming at the National Theatre, where he fought to be cast as the slow-witted boxer Joey. He became good friends with the playwright and earned a reputation as the leading Pinter actor of the time, playing the manservant Briggs in the first production of No Man’s Land with Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson, and Davies in The Caretaker. He also continued to work extensively with writer and director Hall, taking the role of Pozzo in Hall’s production of Waiting For Godot in 2005.

Other theatre productions included Macbeth and The Wind In The Willows at the National, as well as success on Broadway, with plays including Mike Leigh’s Smelling A Rat, Edward Bond’s Saved and Troilus And Cressida.

In 1971, Rigby began his film career, appearing on screen alongside Michael Caine in the successful crime film Get Carter. Over the next 30 years he acted in many British and Hollywood films including Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts and the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. However, he was perhaps most widely known for his television roles in hit series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and as PC Snow in police drama Softly Softly. He also appeared in numerous other television shows including Holby City, Lovejoy, Our Friends In The North and Heartbeat.

Before having to return to England in March due to ill health, Rigby was touring America in the production A Woman Of No Importance.

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