‘We will miss him terribly’: Vicar of Dibley star Gary Waldhorn dies age 78

Gary Waldhorn poses with the award for Best Comedy Show for The Vicar of Dibley at the TV Quick and TV Choice Awards (Photo: MJ Kim/Getty Images)Gary Waldhorn poses with the award for Best Comedy Show for The Vicar of Dibley at the TV Quick and TV Choice Awards (Photo: MJ Kim/Getty Images)
Gary Waldhorn poses with the award for Best Comedy Show for The Vicar of Dibley at the TV Quick and TV Choice Awards (Photo: MJ Kim/Getty Images)

Vicar of Dibley star Gary Waldhorn has passed away at the age of 78, his family have confirmed.

As well as starring in a number of classic British TV shows, Waldhorn was an accomplished Shakespearean actor, who enjoyed performances on Broadway and the West End.

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Who was Gary Waldhorn?

Waldhorn was an English actor and comedian, best known for his roles on classic British TV shows and on the theatre stage.

He was born in London on 3 July 1943 to mother Liselotte and father Siegfried. Waldhorn graduated from the Yale School of Drama in the US in 1967 and it was during his time at the school that he would meet his future wife, Christie Dickason.

Waldhorn and Dickason married on 2 April 1967, and together had one son, Josh, who was born in 1970.

What did he star in?

Waldhorn was best known as playing the councillor David Horton in every episode of Vicar of Dibley, which debuted in 1994.

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He most recently appeared in the Christmas special for the sitcom, The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown, opposite Dawn French, who plays Rev Geraldine Granger, and James Fleet, who plays his on-screen son Hugo.

Vicar of Dibley has lost a number of its beloved stars, with six members of the main cast having now passed away - Trevor Peacock, Emma Chambers, Roger Lloyd-Pack, John Bluthal and Liz Smith.

Waldhorn also appeared in other classic British TV shows including The Sweeney, Brush Strokes, Hotel Babylon and in the comedy sketch show French and Saunders.

His other notable projects include All at No 20, Lovejoy, Gallowglass, The Chief, Campaign, Edward & Mrs Simpson and Softly Softly: Task Force.

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He also provided voice overs for adverts including for Green Flag, Kwik Fit, Branston and Marmite.

Waldhorn was an accomplished Shakespearean actor and had performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company including in Much Ado About Nothing.

Waldhorn was a regular Royal Shakespeare Company actor, also appearing in productions like Good and All’s Well That Ends Well. His other theatrical credits include starring alongside David Tennant on the West End in 1998 in Black Comedy, as well as playing the title role in Henry IV at the Old Vic.

Speaking about the theatre and Shakespear, Waldhorn once said: “I liked acting as a child and I remember as a first-former in London we were given tickets to the Old Vic to see a Shakespeare play.

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“I saw Richard Burton play Henry V and my life changed. I came home and said I wanted to be a Shakespearean actor.”

When did he die?

According to a statement from his family, Waldhorn passed away “peacefully” at the age of 78 at 6:45am on Monday (10 January).

Waldhorn’s son, Josh, said: “Classically trained, it was the theatre where he truly flourished and he leaves a legacy of entertainment that saw him frequent the boards of Broadway, the West End and our living rooms on the telly!

“He leaves behind his two grandsons, Cooper and Bayley, and his son Josh. We will all miss him terribly.”

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Tributes for Gary Waldhorn

Dawn French, Robert Lindsay and Samuel West have all paid their tributes to the Vicar of Dibley actor.

On Twitter and Instagram, French lead the tributes by posting a black and white image of the actor, captioning it with a broken hearted emoji.

Similarly, My Family star Lindsay wrote on Twitter: “And during all this madness news of dear #garywaldhorn passing.

“Such great memories of working with him and my wonderful pal Trevor Peacock at @rxtheatre.”

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All Creatures Great And Small star West shared an image of the pair on stage in 1997, calling him a “terrific actor”.

On Twitter, West wrote: “Sad news about Gary Waldhorn.

“He played my dad, the eponymous king, in both parts of Henry IV at the Old Vic in 1997 (here with my actual dad as the ultimate non-father, Falstaff).

“A lovely man and a terrific actor.”

BBC Comedy said: “Gary was an incredibly talented actor who is fondly remembered by us for his numerous appearances on some of the nation’s most treasured BBC shows, and of course as councillor David Horton in The Vicar Of Dibley.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

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