Ian Lavender, who played Private Frank Pike in Dad’s Army, has sadly died at the age of 77.
The beloved actor died on Friday morning, his agent confirmed.
Hilary Gagan told the PA news agency Lavender had been ill for some time and that his wife and sons were by his side.
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Lavender was born in Birmingham in 1946. He acted from an early age, appearing in many school dramatic productions while at Bournville Boys Technical School, before going on to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
His first television role was in Half Hour Story: Flowers at my Feet in 1968, but he is best know for his role in Dad’s Army of the same year.
Lavender, who was 22 at the time, played Private Frank Pike, who frequently had run-ins with Captain George Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe), calling him “Stupid Boy”, and who was looked after by Sergeant Arthur Wilson (John Le Mesurier).
Pike, the youngest member of the Home Guard troop and a bank clerk, would often refer to Wilson as Uncle Arthur as he was in a relationship with his overprotective mother Mavis Pike (Janet Davies).
Lavender’s other TV comedy appearances include Yes Minister, Keeping Up Appearances and Goodnight Sweetheart and a Carry On film.
He was also known for his role as Derek Harkinson, a gay friend of Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) in BBC One soap EastEnders from 2001 to 2005.
He also appeared on stage, including in The Merchant Of Venice with Dustin Hoffman, and as the narrator in a touring production of The Rocky Horror Show.
He returned to Walford in 2016 but left in 2017 after he became ill with sepsis, having previously battled cancer and a heart attack.
BBC director of comedy Jon Petrie said: “Ian was a much-loved actor and will be sorely missed by all those who knew him.
“In his role of Private Pike, in Dad’s Army, he delivered some of the most iconic and loved moments in the history of British comedy. Our thoughts are with his family.”
He is survived by his wife, choreographer and stage director Michelle Hardy, and their sons Sam and Daniel.