(L-R) Geoffrey Hughes as Onslow, Patricia Cornwall as Daisy, and Mary Millar as Rose, in front of the "telly" on "Keeping Up Appearances" (Photo : Flickr)
Geoffrey Hughes, who played the chronically slothful Onslow on the long-syndicated Britcom "Keeping Up Appearances", has died.
He was 68, and died on July 27 of prostate cancer, with which he was first diagnosed in 1996, according to Britain's Mirror.
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Like the characters in which he specialized, Hughes belonged firmly to Britain's working class. He began life as the son of a Liverpool dockworker, said The Telegraph.
He started working in theater in the 1960s, and continued to appear on the stage throughout his career. He gained fame as a roguish refuse collector on the TV soap opera "Coronation Street" from 1974 to 1983. He would play another blue-collar supporting character on the sitcom "The Royle Family" from 1998 to 2008.
But it was on the much shorter-running "Keeping Up Appearances" (1990 to 1995) that he became known to American audiences. The show has run in syndication on PBS almost every week since the 1990s.
As Onslow, Hughes played a constant thorn in the side of his manically class-obsessed sister-in-law Hyacinth Bucket, played by Patricia Routledge.
Onslow had an aversion to work, physical activity, and wearing sleeves. He loved beer and television, but would occasionally rouse himself to chase his senile father-in-law or to rescue "poor Dicky", as he called Richard, Hyacinth's obedient, long-suffering husband. Viewers of the show frequently watched Hyacinth's face collapse in horror when, in the middle of putting on airs, she heard the familiar backfire of Onslow's decrepit Ford Cortina and knew that he would soon be on-hand to embarrass her.
Routledge, 83, told The Mirror that Hughes's death was the first thing she heard upon waking.
"I felt very, very sad," she said. "He was a most lovable man, just delightful and great fun to work with."
"He was just wonderful to have around. He never made a fuss and just got on with the work. He was a true professional."
Hughes had a wife of thirty-seven years named Susan and no children. The couple had lived on the Isle of Wight for nearly ten years, having previously lived on a farm in Northamptonshire.