TRIBUTES have been paid to the actor and comedian Rik Mayall who has passed away suddenly at the age of 56.
Mr. Mayall rose to fame in the 1980s as one of the new wave of alternative comedians in such shows as The Comic Strip Presents and The Young Ones.
He had developed his talents in a comedy duo The Dangerous Brothers with Adrian Edmondson whom he met while at Manchester University. The pair would later star together in the sitcom Bottom (see below).
Often playing loud, abnoxious characters, such as Rick in The Young Ones, he quickly became one of the country’s most successful comedians. He co-written the sitcom (which included Edmondson in the cast) with Ben Elton and Lise Mayer.
His other successful characters included Lord Flashheart in Blackadder (see below), and Tory MP Alan B’Stard in The New Statesman — a show which had been specially written for him.
Among the other TV shows that he starred in were: Filthy Rich & Catflap, Tales of Uplift and Moral Improvement, Believe Nothing and All About George.
His film credits included Drop Dead Fred (1991) and Guest House Paradiso (1999).
Mr. Mayall had suffered a serious head injury in a quad bike accident in 1998, but bounced back to resume his successful career. Friends said the accident had taken a lot out of the popular character. Mr. Mayall said the near-death experience had changed his life, leaving him glad to be alive.
His work in recent years had included the TV series Man Down and Damo and Ivor (both 2013).
Mr. Mayall, who was married with three children, passed away at his home in London.
Among the many warm tributes was one from his old friend and collaborator Adrian Edmondson who said: “There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree, stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him.”
To view a short excerpt from Bottom, click here.
To see a clip of Mr. Mayall playing Lord Flashheart in Blackadder, click here.
To view part of an archive interview with Mr. Mayall on The Letterman Show, in the U.S. click here.
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