Friends mourn death of Mike Reid

PUBLISHED: 16:37 30 July 2007 | UPDATED: 21:46 29 May 2010

Mike Reid as EastEnders' Frank Butcher

Mike Reid as EastEnders' Frank Butcher

ACTOR and comedian Mike Reid who played Frank Butcher in the soap EastEnders has died at the age of 67 after a suspected heart attack. The father-of-three from The End Way, Great Easton, was at his home in Marbella, Spain, on Sunday when he died suddenly.

ACTOR and comedian Mike Reid who played Frank Butcher in the soap EastEnders has died at the age of 67 after a suspected heart attack.

The father-of-three from The End Way, Great Easton, was at his home in Marbella, Spain, on Sunday when he died suddenly.

David Hahn, Mr Reid's agent, said on Monday: "Mike's death has come as a great shock. I saw him a couple of weeks ago and he was in fine fettle. He had a medical and was given a clean bill of health.

"His wife of 30 years, Shirley, is completely devastated."

Mr Hahn paid tribute to Mr Reid, describing him as a very, very funny man and a fantastic story teller who would always see the funny side of any situation.

Frank Silver, former mayor of Dunmow, got to know Mr Reid in the 1980s while working at Tower Hamlets Council where he was head of leisure services.

He said: "Mike did a lot of work for us, attending many events.

"He was outstanding, a really nice guy. He was always telling jokes, one after another."

Speaking on the BBC's website, fellow comedian Frank Carson said: "This is horrendous news. Everyone in show business will be shocked."

John Yorke, controller of BBC drama series, said: "Albert Square, and British television, will be a far poorer place without him."

Mr Reid's showbusiness career started in the 1970s when he worked, among other things, as Roger Moore's stuntman in The Saint.

His big break was on the television programme The Comedians where he appeared with top comedians of the time including Frank Carson, Jim Bowen, Russ Abbott, Bernard Manning and Charlie Williams.

Many people in their 30s and 40s will remember him as the host of children's favourite Runaround.

After this, Mr Reid's career moved towards acting appearing on programmes including Minder and Doctor Who.

For most people, Mr Reid will be best remembered for his role as Frank Butcher, the loveable wheeler-dealer in BBC soap opera EastEnders.

He joined the cast in September 1987 and made his final appearance in Albert Square in December 2005.

During which time he ran the Queen Vic pub with screen wives Pat Butcher and Peggy (played by Pam St Clement and Barbara Windsor respectively). In one scene he memorably turned up on Pat's doorstep wearing nothing more than a flashing bowtie in an effort to win her back.

Mr Reid is survived by wife Shirley, and two children, Jane from his previous marriage to Sheila, and Michael by Shirley.

His second child by Shirley, Mark, died in 1990.

Plans for Mr Reid's funeral are expected to be announced in the near future.

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