Andrew Sachs did not recognise Fawlty Towers in later years, says son

Andrew Sachs as Manuel in Fawlty Towers. Photo by REX/Shutterstock
Andrew Sachs as Manuel in Fawlty Towers. Photo by REX/Shutterstock
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The son of Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs has revealed that, as his father battled with vascular dementia, he was shown Fawlty Towers but did not recognise the hit comedy.

Speaking about his father’s death, John Sachs said: “Vascular dementia is a terrible thing for an actor because you lose your voice, you lose movement and they even tried playing Fawlty Towers to him but he didn’t even recognise it, so it is a terrible change.”

The younger Sachs also revealed his father used Manuel’s moustache to hide behind.

“I think he stuck that big moustache on because he didn’t want to be recognised.

“[He] tried to make it even bigger but John wouldn’t have it. I think he would have whole big furry thing across his face.Honestly he didn’t seek the limelight at all, just enjoyed the craft.”

Asked if Sachs considered the role as the standout of his career, his son said: “I don’t think he ever thought that as anything particular special. I guess we did.

“He wasn’t even sure if John had written him into the next series because it was a two-part so that’s how much regard he had for it really but of course he loved doing it and liked the royalties.

“He brought a certain subtlety to it.”

Meanwhile former co-star John Cleese paid tribute to Andrew Sachs saying he created “one of the great comic characters” in his portrayal of hapless Spanish waiter Manuel.

Recalling a foreword he was asked to write for Sachs’ autobiography in 2014, Cleese said it had moved his co-star to tears.

Sachs, who died at a care home on November 23, penned the book, titled, I Know Nothing: The Autobiography.

Reacting on Twitter to news of Sachs’ death, Cleese said: “I wrote the foreword to his book a couple of years ago, which apparently ‘moved him to tears’.”

In the book, Cleese wrote: “I am delighted that Andy Sachs asked me to pen this brief foreword to his memoirs, because it gives me a chance to express my appreciation of him, both as a great farceur and as a friend of 40 years.”

Fawlty Towers actress Connie Booth, who played waitress and hotel maid Polly Sherman, paid tribute to Sachs saying he “spoke to the world with his body as well as his mangled English, adding: “It made him a universally beloved figure. It was a privilege and an education to work with him.”