Emmerdale actor Freddie Jones has been described as one of the TV soap’s “favourite human beings” following his death at 91.
The father of fellow actor Toby Jones played Sandy Thomas in the ITV show for more than 12 years until 2018.
He also appeared in Hollywood films such as Dune in 1984, The Elephant Man in 1980 and Firefox in 1982.
His agent Lesley Duff said he died in the evening of 9 July after a short illness.
Jones became an actor after a mid-life career change, having previously worked as a laboratory assistant while performing in amateur theatre on the side.
The makers of Emmerdale said in a statement: “Everyone at Emmerdale is deeply sad to hear about the death of one of the show’s most brilliant actors and favourite human beings, Freddie Jones.
“Freddie was part of Emmerdale for many years and he brought his unique, energetic, infectious, twinkle to every scene he was in.”
Jones became a regular on Emmerdale in 2006 and announced his departure in 2018, saying he could not justify staying, even though he had been offered another year on the show.
Mark Charnock, who plays Marlon Dingle, said: “I was one of the fortunate few to share a dressing room with Freddie for more than a decade.
“He was an amazing man. I can’t begin to describe the affection the entire cast and crew held for him. He was truly adored.
“He would light up the set with his wit and charm and privately was the most hilarious, fascinating company.
“He’d worked everywhere, with everyone and his anecdotes were gold dust and like many others, I’ll treasure my friendship with him forever.
“People like Freddie don’t come along very often and everyone at Emmerdale knew what it meant to have him in our cast. So lucky. A brilliant actor. An absolute gent.”
Charlotte Bellamy, who played his daughter-in-law Laurel Thomas, added: “I was in awe of his professionalism, humour and his zest for life.
“He spent his last working years here at Emmerdale where he was loved and respected by us all. The world is a poorer place without him.”
Jones’ first acting credit was on the TV mini-series Androcles And The Lion in 1960 and he worked steadily on the small screen, including as Claudius in the TV mini-series The Caesars.
His big-screen debut was in Marat/Sade in 1967 and he also appeared in literary dramas such as Far From The Madding Crowd and Nicholas Nickleby, as well as the 1987 version of Vanity Fair.
Jones’ agent Ms Duff said: “Freddie was a much loved and admired actor, known for his triumphs in classical theatre, film and television.
“He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him and most especially his family.”
courtesy of Sky News