Richard Briers. Photo Getty
British actor Richard Briers, best known for the 1970s TV
sit-com "The Good Life" but also for his Shakespearean roles,
has died at the age of 79, prompting a flood of tributes for "a
The actor, who spent a lifetime on the stage, had recently
spoken publicly of battling a serious lung condition for
years, saying that "the ciggies got me" after a lifetime
He said his health was failing after being diagnosed with
emphysema five years ago even though he gave up smoking 10
"I was diagnosed five years ago and didn't think it would go
quite as badly as it has," he told a newspaper interview last
month. "I used to love smoking. It's totally my fault."
His agent said he died on Sunday (local time) at his London
Briers's career ranged from television, to theatre, to film
and radio with the actor, trained at the Royal Academy of
Dramatic Art, making his West End debut in the late 1950s.
In "The Good Life", he played alongside actress Felicity
Kendal as a married couple who decide to drop out of the rat
race and try out a life of self-sufficiency.
His film credits included "A Chorus Of Disapproval" in 1989
and "Watership Down" in 1978 in which he was the voice of
Fiver. He also narrated the children's cartoon series
"Roobarb and Custard".
But he won wide acclaim for his Shakespearean work after
joining Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company. He
appeared in a list of Branagh's films including "Henry V",
"Much Ado About Nothing" and "Hamlet".
Briers, who was married with two daughters, was awarded an
OBE in 1989 for services to the arts.
Branagh paid tribute to Briers, telling reporters: "He was a
national treasure, a great actor and a wonderful man. He was
greatly loved and he will be deeply missed."
Actor Stephen Fry on Twitter described him as "the most
adorable and funny man imaginable".