Robert Fyfe: ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ actor dies aged 90

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BBC stars Robert Fyfe (left), Peter Sallis (right) and Kathy Staff appearing in London to promote the launch of a Royal Mail guide to its postbus network in 1989  (PA)
BBC stars Robert Fyfe (left), Peter Sallis (right) and Kathy Staff appearing in London to promote the launch of a Royal Mail guide to its postbus network in 1989 (PA)

Robert Fyfe, the actor who played Howard in the sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, has died at the age of 90, just a few weeks after his wife also passed away.

The Scottish actor, who came from Kirkcaldy, Fife, was known for portraying the shy and downtrodden husband of Pearl Sibshaw on screen from 1985 until the beloved BBC show’s cancellation in 2010.

His character was also known to viewers for his affair with Marina, played by Jean Fergusson, and his often failed attempts at hiding the relationship from his wife.

Mr Fyfe’s death was confirmed to the PA news agency by the talent agency Curtis Brown on Wednesday night.

His wife Diana died a few weeks before him, leaving sons Timothy, Nicholas and Dominic.

The 90-year-old’s manager Maxine Hoffman told the BBC that he was “the most delightful client anyone could wish for”, adding that he was “a truly talented and versatile actor and much loved by everyone he worked with”.

Morris Bright, chairman of Elstree Studios, where episodes of Last of the Summer Wine were filmed, paid tribute to the actor by describing him as the “loveliest of people”.

“Sad to hear Robert Fyfe has passed aged 90. The loveliest of people, we shared some very happy times on location for Last of the Summer Wine back in the late 1990s,” Mr Bright wrote on Twitter.

Mr Fyfe's first role in television came in 1962 in Dr Finlay's Casebook and he appeared later in his career in Coronation Street and in the film Cloud Atlas.

Juliette Kaplan, who played Pearl Sibshaw in the show, died in October 2019 from cancer while Ms Fergusson, who played Marina, died in November that year.

Additional reporting by PA