To The Manor Born actor Peter Bowles dies from cancer, agent confirms

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To The Manor Born star Peter Bowles has died aged 85 from cancer, his agent has confirmed.

The actor is best known for his role as businessman Richard DeVere in hit BBC series To The Manor Born, playing the iconic character from the first series in 1979 for its two years on screen alongside Dame Penelope Keith.

To The Manor Born brought in around 20million viewers during its short tenure, and Peter Bowles returned to BBC screens for a much-anticipated special episode in 2007.

A statement from his agent Gavin Parker read: "The actor Peter Bowles has sadly passed away at the age of 85 from cancer.

"Starting his career at the Old Vic Theatre in 1956, he starred in 45 theatrical productions ending at the age of 81 in The Exorcist at the Phoenix Theatre.

"He worked consistently on stage and screen, becoming a household name on TV as the archetypal English gent in To The Manor Born, Only When I Laugh, The Bounder and Lytton’s Diary, which he devised himself.

"He leaves his wife of over 60 years, Sue, and their three children Guy, Adam and Sasha."

Bowles was also known for playing a number of villains on sitcoms during his lengthy TV career, including roles on The Avengers and The Saint.

He also starred in hit films The Bank Job, The Steal and Eyewitness, and one of his most recent roles was on hit ITV series Victoria alongside Doctor Who actress Jenna Colman, playing the Duke of Wellington.

The actor previously spoke about his sitcom success to PA in 2010, saying: "f you have a great popular TV success, particularly in comedy, people don’t think you can act on stage.

"People thought I was just a sitcom actor and the BBC told me I’d never work in drama again. I didn’t realise there were two worlds. It was new to me. I found it very odd and frustrating."

Bowles and Dame Penelope reunited on stage for a regional tour of Sheridan's The Rivals, directed by Sir Peter Hall, back in 2010.

The actor leaves behind Susan, his wife of 62 years and their three children.

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