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Obituary: Christopher Cazenove

Christopher Cazenove

Obituary by Jack Foley

STAGE, film and TV actor Christopher Cazenove has died at the age of 66, his family has confirmed.

The British star passed away on Wednesday (April 7, 2010) after a “valiant battle” with septicaemia.

The actor, who was best known for playing Ben Carrington in 1980s US soap opera Dynasty, also had a string of acclaimed film and stage roles to his name.

He memorably played the father of the late Australian actor Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale, and won acclaim for his performance alongside Les Dennis in the stage play Art in 2003.

In a statement released by his agent, his family and girlfriend Isabel Davis said the actor had “died peacefully surrounded by his loved ones” at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. He had contracted septicaemia at the end of February.

News of Cazenove’s death comes a week after the death of John Forsythe, another former Dynasty star, who played oil tycoon Blake Carrington – brother to Ben Carrington.

Born in Winchester, Hampshire, Cazenove first found fame as Charlie Tyrrell in the ’70s mini-series The Duchess of Duke Street before going on to find small screen success in the TV adaptation of Jeffrey Archer’s novel Kane and Abel and in World War Two drama Jenny’s War, both released in 1985.

It was those that paved the way for his casting as Ben Carrington in Dynasty and a role that turned him into a household name on both sides of the Atlantic.

Further TV success came in BBC drama Judge John Deed and he also appeared in a number of movies following his Dynasty success, including the comedy sequel Three Men & A Little Lady, the follow-up to Three Men & A Baby.

One of his other memorable movie roles came in 2001 when he played John Thatcher, the father of the late Heath Ledger’s character William Thatcher, in A Knight’s Tale.

He also regularly appeared on the stage and on radio.

In his personal life, Cazenove was married to actress Angharad Rees for more than 20 years and they had two sons together, Linford and Rhys – although Linford, the elder of the two, tragically died in a car crash on the M11 in Essex in 1999, aged just 25.

Tributes

Leading the tributes to Cazenove was the statement released by Lesley Duff, his agent for the past 12 years, who described the actor as “an incredible man who touched so many lives”.

Former Dynasty co-star Joan Collins described him as “an absolutely charming man and a very good actor”, with whom she had “very much enjoyed” working on Dynasty.

And comedian Les Dennis said he was “a wonderful actor to work with but, more importantly, a wonderful man to know”, adding: “His generosity of spirit never failed to inspire me.

“I cannot think of times spent with him without smiling. He was a true and loyal friend and my family and I will miss him very much.”