Fawlty Towers and EastEnders actor Nicky Henson dies aged 74 

Former Fawlty Towers star Nicky Henson has died after a 19-year battle with prostate cancer, it has been confirmed today. 

The 74-year-old actor also had roles in EastEnders, Downton Abbey as well as working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. 

His death was confirmed by his friend and fellow actor Ian Ogilvy on social media today. 

Mr Oglivy posted to Facebook: ‘After an illness which started twenty years ago, and which was born with great fortitude and good humour, my oldest and dearest friend, my mate Nicky Henson, has gone [sic].’ 

The former RSC actor guest starred on Fawlty Towers as an amorous guest who landed himself in hot water with Basil Fawlty after trying to sneak a girl into his room.

Known as something of a lothario in his youth, at the age of 25 Henson married Sherlock star Una Stubbs, with whom he had sons, before he walked out on her and into relationships with Avengers star Linda Thorson and Susan Hampshire.  

Nicky Henson during his stint as Jack Edwards on Eastenders

Nicky Henson during his stint as Jack Edwards on Eastenders

Nicky Henson during his stint as Jack Edwards on Eastenders 

Prunella Scales as Sybil Fawlty and Nicky Henson as Mr. Johnson in Fawlty Towers

Prunella Scales as Sybil Fawlty and Nicky Henson as Mr. Johnson in Fawlty Towers

Prunella Scales as Sybil Fawlty and Nicky Henson as Mr. Johnson in Fawlty Towers

The actor starred as washed-up music hall performer Charles Grigg in the first and fourth seasons of Downton Abbey (pictured)

The actor starred as washed-up music hall performer Charles Grigg in the first and fourth seasons of Downton Abbey (pictured)

The actor starred as washed-up music hall performer Charles Grigg in the first and fourth seasons of Downton Abbey (pictured)

Henson on his wedding day to Una Stubbs at Wandsworth Town Hall in October 1969, alongside comedian Stanley Holloway

Henson on his wedding day to Una Stubbs at Wandsworth Town Hall in October 1969, alongside comedian Stanley Holloway

Henson on his wedding day to Una Stubbs at Wandsworth Town Hall in October 1969, alongside comedian Stanley Holloway

Henson was born in London, to British stage and screen actor Leslie Henson, and his third wife Billie. 

He went on to marry Royal Ballet dancer and teacher Marguerite Porter. The pair were married for some 35 years and had one son, musician Keaton.

His fellow Eastenders actor Stuart Antony tweeted this morning: ‘ RIP the wonderful Nicky Henson – The man with million stories all of them funny. A true gent x

Henson played Mr Johnson in ‘The Psychiatrist’ episode of Fawlty Towers in 1979. 

Henson, who had known Cleese for more than 50 years, once revealed how the comedian called him to ask him to play the part because he would be too embarrassed to be so rude to an actor he didn’t know. 

He said in an interview: ‘I played a flash guy, a medallion man in leather trousers and a chamois shirt,’ Henson said of his guest spot. Basil was dreadfully nasty to me.’

He later revealed how he was paid just £150 to appear in the episode. 

‘We didn’t realise what a huge hit the show was. John did say to me, ‘I can probably guarantee 100 per cent of your original fee in repeats.’ My fee was £150 – and Fawlty Towers is still topping up my pension!’ 

He joked that despite his 50 years of acting, his tombstone would probably read: ‘Here lies Nicky Henson – he was in one episode of Fawlty Towers’. 

Henson trained at RADA as a stage manager, before trying his hand at pop music, but acting was always his dream. 

He starred in The Frost Report in 1966 before appearing in Fawlty Towers alongside John Cleese, and George Clooney’s Syriana in 2005. 

He then went on to appear as Jack Edwards on EastEnders in 2006 and washed-up music hall performer Charles Grigg in the first and fourth seasons of Downton Abbey. 

In 1998, ge was nominated for a 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical of 1997 for his role in Enter the Guardsman. 

The 74-year-old actor, from Richmond, south-west London, previously spoke out about how he battled three cancers in three years.

In 2012, he underwent 21 medical procedures over a 12-month period for kidney stones which had been caused by radiation treatment for prostate cancer. 

Henson as George Wilson (right) in the TV series Minder, alongside Dennis Waterman as Terry McCann

Henson as George Wilson (right) in the TV series Minder, alongside Dennis Waterman as Terry McCann

Henson as George Wilson (right) in the TV series Minder, alongside Dennis Waterman as Terry McCann 

The actor starred alongside Joan Collins in The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones in 1976

The actor starred alongside Joan Collins in The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones in 1976

The actor starred alongside Joan Collins in The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones in 1976

George Sanders with Nicky Henson (left) in the 9173 film, Psychomania

George Sanders with Nicky Henson (left) in the 9173 film, Psychomania

George Sanders with Nicky Henson (left) in the 9173 film, Psychomania

Henson in the 1972 British movie, All Coppers Are

Henson in the 1972 British movie, All Coppers Are

Henson in the 1972 British movie, All Coppers Are

The actor is also in the 2003 eight-episode TV series, Blue Dove

The actor is also in the 2003 eight-episode TV series, Blue Dove

The actor is also in the 2003 eight-episode TV series, Blue Dove

The actor is pictured here in 2017 while promoting gangster movie, We Still Steal The Old Way

The actor is pictured here in 2017 while promoting gangster movie, We Still Steal The Old Way

Henson pictured in 2017

Henson pictured in 2017

The actor is pictured here in 2017 while promoting gangster movie, We Still Steal The Old Way

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