Veteran star Spinetti, 82, loses fight with cancer

Veteran screen and stage star Victor Spinetti, famed for his appearances in three Beatles’ films, has died at the age of 82.

The Welsh star, who won a Tony for his Broadway role in Oh! What A Lovely War, died yesterday morning following a fight with pancreatic cancer.

His close friend Barbara Windsor led tributes, praising him as a “wonderful man who was full of great stories”.

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Spinetti had featured in her Radio 2 series Clubland, looking at a golden age of London nightclubs, and she visited him, playing him the programme only last week.

The versatile actor was able to easily turn his hand from serious classical roles to comedy performances and roles in sitcoms. He has also been a successful stage director and became known for his appearances in a Jaffa Cake ad campaign.

However, for many, Spinetti will always be known for his roles in The Beatles’ three live action films – A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and Magical Mystery Tour.

Comedian and actor Rob Brydon was also among those to speak fondly of him. He said: “One of the funniest raconteurs there’s ever been; a lovely man who I was lucky to call a friend.”

Spinetti’s agent, Barry Burnett, said: “He had cancer for a year, but he was very cheerful to the end. I spoke to him on Friday and he was talking about his plans and everything.”