British actor Dennis Waterman, who starred in the TV shows Minder, The Sweeney and New Tricks, has died at 74. No immediate information the cause was available.
A statement from his family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis passed away very peacefully in hospital in Spain, on Sunday afternoon, with [his wife] Pam by his side. The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”
Waterman played bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder after his role as tough cop George Carter in The Sweeney. Minder was a portrayal of the criminal underworld in West London. Waterman also took the role of Gerry Standing in the BBC police drama New Tricks, which began in 2004. His other TV credits include ITV’s Where the Heart Is and the BBC’s The Canterbury Tales and Moses Jones.
Beyond acting, Waterman was known for singing the theme songs to many of his shows.
The actor and comedian Matt Lucas was among those paying tribute. “I grew up watching Dennis Waterman’s iconic performances in The Sweeney and Minder,” he wrote in a tweet. “His guest appearance in our Little Britain Live show at Hammersmith Apollo – in which he hilariously duetted with David’s absurd impersonation of him – remains the absolute highlight of my career.”
Born in London, Waterman was schooled at the Corona Theatre and began his acting career at the Children’s Film Foundation. Based on that, he was invited to join Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Company. A role in the BBC’s adaptation of the Just William books followed.
He was married several times, including to the actor Rula Lenska until 1998, and his daughter, Hannah Waterman, followed him into acting, landing a role in EastEnders as Laura Beale.
His wife and daughter survive him. No memorial plans have been announced.