19 Feb 2013

British actor Richard Briers dies

2:11 pm on 19 February 2013

British actor Richard Briers, best known for the 1970s TV sit-com The Good Life has died at his home in London.

Briers, 79, recently blamed years of smoking for his emphysema.

"It's totally my fault," he said. "So, I get very breathless, which is a pain in the backside. Trying to get upstairs... oh God, it's ridiculous.

''Of course, when you're bloody nearly 80, it's depressing, because you've had it anyway."

Briers was awarded an OBE in 1989.

His film credits included A Chorus Of Disapproval in 1989 and Watership Down in 1978 in which he was the voice of ''Fiver''.

But he won wide acclaim for his Shakespearean work with the Renaissance Theatre Company, in which he appeared in Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet.

Sir Kenneth Branagh said on Monday: "He was a national treasure, a great actor and a wonderful man. He was greatly loved and he will be deeply missed."

Stephen Fry tweeted: "How sad. He was the most adorable and funny man imaginable."

Briers was born in London on 14 January, 1934 and was inspired to be an actor by his mother, a music and drama teacher.

He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and won a scholarship to Liverpool Playhouse in 1956. Two years later he made his first West End appearance in Gilt And Gingerbread.

His film career began with Bottoms Up (1960), Murder She Said (1961) and The VIPs (1963).