Andrew Sachs, who played Spanish waiter in ‘Fawlty Towers,’ dies at 86

German-born comedian described by John Cleese as “very kind man and a truly great farceur”

Andrew Sachs, the British actor best known for his role as the waiter Manuel in the 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers, has died at the age of 86. His death took place on November 23, his wife Melody Lang told the UK newspaper The Daily Mail. For the last four years he had been struggling with vascular dementia.

A 2009 reunion of the Fawlty Towers cast, with Sachs on the right.
A 2009 reunion of the Fawlty Towers cast, with Sachs on the right.Edmond Terakopian (AP)

Sachs most famously played a waiter from Barcelona in the popular series co-created by Monty Python member John Cleese, who starred in the show as Basil Fawlty.

“A very sweet, gentle and kind man and a truly great farceur,” wrote Cleese about him in a series of Twitter messages.

His Manuel interpretation was highly imitated, said the BBC.

“The waiter...often said little more than ‘¿Qué?’ to make people laugh, but possibly his most famous line was ‘I know nothing’.”

After Fawlty Towers, Sachs had roles in the ITV series Coronation Street and the BBC’s EastEnders. But his name was forever linked to his memorable Spanish character.

In 2008, the BBC apologized to Sachs after TV show hosts Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross left offensive voice messages for him regarding his granddaughter.

While critics and fans have widely praised his talent for comedy, Sachs was always modest about his own work as Manuel.

“It was just a part I was playing and people seemed to laugh,” he told the BBC in 2014.

Sachs, of German descent, was born in Berlin. The family fled to Britain in 1938, when he was eight years old.

English version by Susana Urra.


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