Actor Warren Mitchell dies aged 89

London: Actor Warren Mitchell, who played Alf Garnett in TV series "Till Death Us Do Part" and "In Sickness and in Health", has died aged 89. A statement from his family said the star died in the early hours of Saturday "surrounded by his family", reported BBC News.

"He has been in poor health for some time, but was cracking jokes to the last," the family added. Mitchell's great nephew paid tribute to him on Twitter, saying he was "the last of his generation".

The full tweet read: "Just got the news my great uncle Warren Mitchell (aka Alf Garnett) died last night. The last of his generation, wonderful and funny man RIP."

Mitchell began playing the character Alf Garnett at the age of 40 in 1966 and appeared in more than 50 episodes until the programme ended in 1975.

He returned as Alf Garnett in the BBC series "In Sickness and in Health", which ran from 1985 to 1992. He also received critical acclaim for other roles. He won Olivier Awards for his stage performances in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" in 1979 and "The Price" in 2004.

Born in north London's Stoke Newington, he served in the Royal Air Force and then went on to read physics at University College, Oxford. He never completed the course and took up acting in 1951 at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Mitchell appeared in "Till Death Us Do Part" with Una Stubbs and Tony Booth. In 2004 he suffered from a stroke, but was back performing in Miller's "The Price" a week later. He also appeared in TV shows including "Gormenghast", "Wall of Silence", "Lovejoy", "Waking The Dead" and "Kavanagh QC".

Celebrities paid their tributes to the actor. Comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: "Alf Garnett was one of the most influential and important characters and performances in comedy history. RIP Warren Mitchell."

Theatre director Rupert Goold wrote: "RIP Warren Mitchell. A deeply soulful and erudite man who genuinely loved the theatre." Author Neil Gaiman wrote: "Sad to hear Warren Mitchell has died. I acted with him when he played the Director on the @BBCRadio3 version of Signal to Noise. Good man."

Mitchell is survived by his wife Constance Wake, a fellow actress, and three children.

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