TRIBUTES have been paid to actor Warren Clarke, best known for his role in TV drama Dalziel & Pascoe, who has died aged 67.
The Oldham-born star, who appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic A Clockwork Orange, died in his sleep after a short illness yesterday.
Clarke was also known for his starring role in BBC series Down to Earth, about a family who leave the rat race to relocate to rural Devon. Recent roles included a part in Call the Midwife and a stage portrayal of Winston Churchill in Three Days in May.
His most celebrated role was DS Andy Dalziel in the BBC’s TV adaptations of Reginald Hill’s stories about chalk-and-cheese police colleagues. Clarke starred alongside Scot Colin Buchanan, who played DI Peter Pascoe, until 2007.
His death was announced by his agents, Independent Talent Group. A statement said of Clarke: “He will be greatly missed by his family and loved ones. At this time we ask that you respect their privacy in their time of grief.” He is survived by his wife Michelle.
Many have paid tribute to Clarke, with comic and actor Jack Dee saying he was “a brilliant, funny and generous man who was a joy to work with”.
Actor Richard E Grant said: “Worked with him twice and shared a holiday in the Caribbean. Hilarious and irreverent.”
Writer Tony Parsons said: “Warren Clarke was wonderful for 40 years – from Dalziel & Pascoe all the way back to Dim in Clockwork Orange.”
Actor Will Mellor called him a “good friend” and said online: “So sad to hear the news. I can’t believe it. Great man.”
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Clarke was a lifelong Manchester City fan. The club’s Twitter feed said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Warren Clarke following sad news of the actor and MCFC fan’s passing.”
Leaving school aged 15, Clarke started out as a copy boy at the Manchester Evening News. After amateur dramatics at Huddersfield Rep and Liverpool Playhouse, his professional career began in the late Sixties, with roles in TV dramas Softly Softly, The Avengers, Callan and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
In the Eighties, he made small screen appearances in Boon, Bergerac, The Manageress, Lovejoy and Blackadder.
In the Nineties, he notched up credits in Sleepers, A Respectable Trade, Giving Tongue, The Locksmith and The Mystery of Men.
Speaking of his character in Dalziel & Pascoe in 1997, Clarke said: “The man’s a chauvinist pig whose idea of a good night out is swilling back ten pints in the pub with his supper waiting for him and the little woman tucked up in bed with a welcoming smile.
“I like going to the pub but my wife goes with me, too. Blokes like Dalziel just see women as sex objects.”
In his early days as an actor, he had roles as two separate characters in Coronation Street in the late 1960s, before establishing his movie career as one of the thuggish droogs in A Clockwork Orange.
On the 40th anniversary of the film’s release, in 2011, Clarke said working with the legendarily exacting film director Kubrick was “extraordinary”.
The last role he completed before his death was as Charles Poldark in a BBC revival of the 1970s TV drama Poldark.
Assessing his career in one interview, he said: “I got lucky with some of the things I did and happened to make bigger money. But I’ve never gone into anything thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to make a fortune here’. I want to see the script, the character.
“I’ve been offered stuff in Hollywood but it was stuff I didn’t want to be involved with.”
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