Vicar of Dibley star Gary Waldhorn dies at 78

Vicar of Dibley star Gary Waldhorn who played Councillor David Horton in the show dies at 78

  • Gary Waldhorn has passed away at the age of 78, his family have said
  • Actor was best known for role of Councillor David Horton in Vicar of Dibley
  • He also featured in hit shows The Sweeney, Brush Strokes and Hotel Babylon
  • Family say he leaves a ‘legacy of entertainment’ after death on Monday 

Vicar of Dibley star Gary Waldhorn has died at the age of 78.  

The actor was best known for playing the role of Councillor David Horton in the hugely popular series alongside Dawn French from 1994 to 2007.

Mr Walhorn’s son, Josh, said he ‘peacefully passed away’ at 6.45am on Monday. 

Paying tribute, he added: ‘Classically trained, it was the theatre where he truly flourished and he leaves a legacy of entertainment that saw him frequent the boards of Broadway, the West End and our living rooms on the telly!

‘He leaves behind his two grandsons, Cooper and Bayley and his son Josh. We will all miss him terribly.’

Mr Waldhorn most recently appeared in The Vicar of Dibley Christmas special during lockdown, but has also appeared in a number of classic British TV shows such as The Sweeney, Brush Strokes and Hotel Babylon, and even featured in comedy sketch show French And Saunders. 

He also provided voiceovers for adverts including for Green Flag, Kwik Fit, Branston and Marmite. 

Gary Waldhorn at the aftershow party for Bad Girls the Musical at Sugar Reef in London in 2011

Mr Waldhorn as Councillor David Horton in the Vicar of Dibley, pictured with co-stars Emma Chambers and Dawn French

Gary Waldhorn (centre) pictured alongside Emma Chambers as Alice and Dawn French as Geraldine

The Vicar of Dibley cast, from left to right: John Bluthal, James Fleet, Dawn French, Emma Chambers, Gary Waldhorn, Roger Lloyd Pack and Trevor Peacock

Mr Waldhorn (right) pictures at the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in 1998

Mr Waldhorn was an accomplished Shakespearean actor and had performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company including in Much Ado About Nothing.

His theatre roles included Good for the RSC in 1981, which went to Broadway the following year, while he also starred alongside David Tennant in Black Comedy in the West End in 1998. 

He also played the role in Henry IV at the Old Vic, telling the BBC: ‘I liked acting as a child and I remember as a first-former in London we were given tickets to the Old Vic to see a Shakespeare play.

‘I saw Richard Burton play Henry V and my life changed. I came home and said I wanted to be a Shakespearian actor.’

He becomes the sixth member of the Vicar of Dibley cast to have sadly died in recent years.

Trevor Peacock, who played Jim Trott in the comedy series, died at the age of 89 in March last year.

Trevor Peacock (pictured) played the role of Jim Trott in the comedy series. He passed away aged 89 last year

Roger Lloyd Pack, who also starred Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, died at the age of 69 in 2014

Emma Chambers was best known for the role of Alice Tinker in the comedy. She died aged 53 in 2018

John Bluthal, who played the bumbling Frank Pickle, passed away in 2018 when he was 89

Liz Smith died aged 95 in December 2016. She was an instant hit with viewers as Letitia Cropley in the BBC series

The actor suffered from dementia in later life. 

Roger Lloyd Pack, who also starred in Only Fools and Horses, died at the age of 69 in 2014, while John Bluthal passed away in 2018 when he was 89. 

Emma Chambers, who played the role of Alice Tinker, died of natural causes aged 53 in 2018. 

Liz Smith died aged 95 in December 2016. She was an instant hit with viewers as Letitia Cropley in the BBC series.

The tragedy of Dibley: Five other stars of much-loved sitcom who have also passed away 

Vicar of Dibley star Gary Waldhorn has died ‘peacefully’ at the age of 78. 

He becomes the sixth member of the Vicar of Dibley cast to have sadly died in recent years. 

Roger Lloyd Pack

Roger Lloyd Pack was affectionately known to millions as the dim-witted Trigger in Only Fools And Horses. 

He was also known for his role as oddball farmer Owen in the enormously successful BBC comedy, The Vicar of Dibley.

His first marriage to Sheila Ball in 1967 led to the birth of their daughter Emily, now 44, who rose to prominence with a role in the film Wish You Were Here at the age of 16.

Lloyd-Pack then had three sons with his second wife, Ms Markham.

Trevor Peacock

The actor, who played Jim Trott in the comedy series, suffered from dementia in later life.

The degenerative condition contributed to his death on in March 2020, with his family confirming he passed away from a ‘dementia-related illness’.

Mr Peacock first appeared opposite Dawn French in the BBC sitcom in its debut episode in 1994 and continued to appear in every episode of the Richard Curtis show until 2015.

The actor, who is survived by his four children, won over fans with his saucy innuendos and his tonguetied catchphrase of ‘no no no no…’ before everything he says.

Emma Chambers

Best known for playing Alice Tinker in the BBC sitcom which starred Dawn French, the Doncaster-born star also featured in Notting Hill alongside Julia Roberts.

Ms Chambers played alongside French from 1994 to 2007 in the much loved sitcom and won the British Comedy Award for Best Actress for her performance in 1998. 

Notting Hill co-star Hugh Grant led tributes following her passing in February 2018, calling her a ‘warm person’ and ‘brilliant actress’.

Dawn French said: ‘Emma was a very bright spark and the most loyal & loving friend anyone could wish for. I will miss her very much.’

John Bluthal

John Bluthal, a stalwart of British sitcoms, died at the age of 89 in 2018.

The actor was best-known for playing Frank Pickle, the likable but dull parish council secretary in The Vicar Of Dibley, and for his work with Spike Milligan in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

His Vicar Of Dibley co-star Dawn French paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing: ‘Tons of happy laughs remembered today. Cheeky, naughty, hilarious. Bye darlin Bluey.’

One of his last roles was opposite George Clooney and Channing Tatum in the Coen Brothers’ 2016 Oscar-nominated film Hail, Caesar!

Liz Smith

The actress was best known for playing the ailing Nana in the BBC comedy show The Royle Family.

She also starred in hit shows The Vicar of Dibley and Lark Rise to Candleford.

Ms Smith played eccentric baker Letitia Cropley alongside French, but said she was devastated when her character was killed off. 

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