Actor Richard Briers who helped save Bristol Old Vic has died
ACTOR Richard Briers – who helped a campaign to save the Bristol Old Vic – has died aged 79.
The actor – best known for TV's The Good Life – had been battling a serious lung condition.
Mr Briers, who also starred in shows such as Ever Decreasing Circles and Monarch Of The Glen, recently blamed years of smoking for his emphysema.
His agent said he died "peacefully" at his London home on Sunday.
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In June 2007 he was one of several top actors who backed a £2 million fund raising appeal for a major refurbishment programme at the Old Vic, where his daughter Lucy, 45, did a three-year acting course.
He spoke to The Post exclusively at the time saying: "If that theatre goes, there will be nothing like it in the country – it's one of a kind. The Bristol Old Vic is such a special place, it's like an antique jewel."
The Post backed the campaign, which was a huge success. In 2010 the theatre was awarded a grant of £5.3m from the Arts Council.
Mr Briers also attended the city in 2006 when he joined other celebrities at St Mary Redcliffe church for a fund raising event for the Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS).
Writer and broadcaster Richard Hope-Hawkins, from Redland, was a friend of Mr Briers after having met him in 1989 when organising a charity gala to help fund care and nursing for the actor's second cousin, Terry-Thomas.
Mr Hope-Hawkins said: "Richard was unique – a comedy legend. He was down to earth, universally loved, and a great straight actor who amazed many playing in Shakespearean plays.
"He was also a family man who devoted his spare time to aid numerous charities especially Parkinson's Disease Society. I am very saddened by his death – he was simply a lovely, lovely man."