Dennis Waterman, the veteran actor known for shows such as Minder and The Sweeney, has died at the age of 74.
Confirming his death, his agent said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis, passed away very peacefully at his home in Spain.”
“The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time,” they said, adding he died on Sunday afternoon with wife Pam by his side.”
Waterman starred as Terry McCann in Minder from the late 1970s, running around the criminal underworld of west London for seven series.
He also performed the show’s theme tune, I Could Be So Good For You, which became a hit in the UK and Australia.
Waterman also starred in The Sweeney in the 1970s, playing George Carter, and later in New Tricks as Gerry Standing.
He wrapped his final project in 2020, filming Never Too Late, a drama comedy, in Australia.
The actor was also the target of a caricature on the BBC series Little Britain, where David Walliams impersonated him as a comically small man who would “write the theme tune and sing the theme tune” for his new job offers – just as he had done with Minder and other shows.
‘He made me the best cups of tea’
Matt Lucas, the other half of Little Britain, was among the first to leave tributes to Waterman, tweeting: “I grew up watching Dennis Waterman’s iconic performances in The Sweeney and Minder.
“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.”
League Of Gentleman actor Reece Shearsmith said: “RIP Dennis Waterman. When I worked with him on ‘New Tricks’ he made me the best cups of tea. And of course I just spent the time grilling him about ‘Scars of Dracula’.”
Waterman was born in London in 1948 and began his acting career on the stage, getting his start at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford at the age of 12.
He later spent a year on the West End in The Music Man, before heading to Tinsel Town to appear in Fair Exchange.
It was The Sweeney that made Waterman a household name. He co-starred with John Thaw for nearly four years, later going on to make two films based on the show.
He spent much of his career in front of the camera or treading the boards, starring in dozens of plays, shows and movies, mostly in the UK and Australia.
Waterman had three marriages that ended in divorce, to the actresses Penny Dixon, Patricia Maynard and Rula Lenska.
He is survived by his fourth wife, Pam Flint, and his two children.