Lovejoy actor Dudley Sutton died of cancer at the age of 85, his family has announced.

His former colleague Chris Jury, who appeared with Dudley in the BBC series Lovejoy, said on Twitter: "My dear, dear friend, Dudley Sutton died today, I loved him very much.

"Condolences to Fanny, Peter, Barnaby, Wally and Jacqueline and all the rest of his family … and, of course, to his extended family among the friends of Bill W. Liebe, Du Duds."

His agent confirmed Mirror Online, he died on Saturday afternoon.

Dudley, who formerly lived in Mousehole and trained at the Boarding School in Devon, became known after playing a gay biker in The Leather Boys, a role that showed his potential for eccentric movie characters.

Dudley Sutton
Dudley Sutton grew up in Mousehole

He played Tinker from 1986 to 1994 in the hit show Lovejoy. It was Tinker's friendship with the title character Lovejoy and his charming expertise in antique trading that made the series so popular with audiences.

He also played William Makepeace in Emmerdale in 2014 and his last professional career was in November 2017, when he starred in a video for the Tom Chaplin song Midnight Mass.

In a statement, his family said, "Today we are devastated by the loss of our beautiful Dudley, who is leaving a gaping hole in our lives, grateful for the love that friends and fans express everywhere and for the extraordinary care. " He was in the Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham, South London, where he fought for our NHS. # f ** kcancer. "

Last year, when talking about his time in Lovejoy, he said, "It's what they'll say in my obituary when I die, notwithstanding all the different and different things I have done in my life.

"It's fun because Lovejoy is so popular wherever you go, all over the world, but people recognize Tinker, they do not recognize Dudley Sutton."

When he talked about his time on TV two years ago, he said, "Smiling at the tube or being shouted at by white truck drivers or truck drivers is the real reward, and the last thing is when they say, you have one given a lot of pleasure & # 39 ;.

"It's not a bad thing to look back over your life and know that you did that."

He had been in a London hospice since July.

Dudley Sutton in The Leather Boys in 1964
Dudley Sutton in The Leather Boys in 1964

He married American actress Marjorie Steele in 1961 – previously married to millionaire Huntington Hartford.

Sutton and Steele had a child together, but divorced in 1965.

On stage he played the title role in the first production of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane.

From 1966 he appeared in Tango, a play by Slawomir Mrozek at the Aldwych Theater, alongside Patience Collier, Peter Jeffrey, Mike Pratt and Ursula Mohan, directed by Trevor Nunn.

Sutton was a painter and finally a linocut artist. In 2015, at the age of 82, he was honored as Artist in Residence at the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout Retreat for his work.

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