British actor Dennis Waterman, who starred in shows including Minder and New Tricks, has died, his family have confirmed.
The star died at home this afternoon (May 8) with his wife Pam by his side, they said in a statement per the BBC. He was 74 years old.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis passed away very peacefully at his home in Spain,” the statement read. “The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”
Beginning his career at the age of 12 with a role in the film Night Train For Inverness, Waterman’s career spanned over 60 years. As well as Minder and New Tricks, he also appeared in movies including Up The Junction and Scars Of Dracula, while he portrayed Detective Sergeant George Carter in the ITV police drama The Sweeney.
His last released project was the Australian film Never Too Late, which followed four former prisoners of war in their old age as they plotted to break out of the retirement facility they called home. The movie was released in 2020 and also starred James Cromwell and Jacki Weaver.
Waterman was also a star of the stage, appearing in productions of My Fair Lady, Saratoga, Oliver!, and more.
The actor was immortalised in David Walliams and Matt Lucas’ hit comedy series Little Britain in the noughties, with Walliams playing a caricature of the star who insists on singing the theme tune for any new project he is offered. In 2006, Waterman made a guest appearance in Comic Relief Does Little Britain Live, playing himself alongside Walliams’ comedy version of him.
“I grew up watching Dennis Waterman’s iconic performances in The Sweeney and Minder,” Lucas wrote on Twitter following the news of his death. “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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/RsTrABh5Br
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) May 8, 2022
See more tributes below.
RIP Dennis Waterman.
A brilliant actor who was a staple on our screens throughout the 70s and 80s. Loved The Sweeney. Loved Minder more. He was 74.
My apologies for using the incorrect first name for Dennis in a previous tweet which I have deleted. pic.twitter.com/7j95qDXZCB
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) May 8, 2022
Dennis Waterman has left us. What a fantastic talent and lovely man. Such a loss to the industry. RIP pic.twitter.com/ZDUXAFMBmH
— Stuart Antony (@STU_ACTOR) May 8, 2022
Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Dennis Waterman. Loved working with him in “On The Up” over the three series we did. Such happy memories. Can’t believe he’s left us so soon. #OnTheUp #Minder #NewTricks #TheSweeney pic.twitter.com/8EsKXBa6uV
— Judy Buxton 💙 (@JudyBuxton7) May 8, 2022
So sad to read this. Back in the 80s I spent a while managing a newsagents in Chiswick where John Thaw was a regular customer. More than once Dennis came in with him and they were always totally charming and good fun. #RIPDennisWatermanhttps://t.co/iullwhLjvo
— Mike Godfrey (@uncletatty) May 8, 2022
It's a strange, unique sadness when a stranger dies, someone you only knew through a television screen.
It marks the passing of your own life, I guess, and a little bit of you leaves with them. Rest in peace, Dennis Waterman.
— Joanna Cannon (@JoannaCannon) May 8, 2022
Farewell Dennis Waterman. These two roles alone would be enough to celebrate any career but he's also been in so much good stuff as well and always brilliant (especially the underrated Fright, Up the Junction and his episodes of Thriller and New Scotland Yard). pic.twitter.com/PTrQlGzYXd
— Adam Scovell (@AdamScovell) May 8, 2022