- Title: FILE: Influential British comedian Mel Smith dies at age 60
- Date: 20th July 2013
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - JULY 17, 2001) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) MEL SMITH BEING ASKED IF HE ENJOYED MAKING THE FILM 'HIGH HEELS AND LOW LIFES' CLIP (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR MEL SMITH SAYING: "Yes, I did, a lot, a lot. For what it is worth I am really proud of it. I think it is probably the film so far in my but brief career that I am happiest with, so far."
- Embargoed: 4th August 2013 13:00
- Location: Australia, United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom Australia
- Topics: Entertainment,Obituaries,People
- Reuters ID: LVAEHX3Z5D3K8UNA0FQYBRDI5BLP
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- Story Text: British comedian Mel Smith, who became a household name in Britain for a series of television sketch shows in the 1970s and 80s which colleagues said had inspired a generation of comics, has died of a heart attack, his agent said on Saturday (July 20).
Smith, who died on Friday (July 19) aged 60, found fame starring in hugely popular shows "Not The Nine O'clock News" and "Alas Smith and Jones" and went on to direct the films "Bean" and "The Tall Guy".
"I still can't believe this has happened," said Griff Rhys Jones, his comedy partner in his best-known TV shows. "To everybody who ever met him, Mel was a force for life. He was a gentleman and a scholar, a gambler and a wit."
Together, they formed Talkback, a highly successful independent TV production house that spawned many hit British comedies including the "Ali G" series, which gave Sacha Baron Cohen his first big television break.
Talkback was sold to Pearson TV in 2000 for 62 million sterling (GBP) or approximately $95 million U.S. dollars.
"Mel Smith's contribution to British comedy cannot be overstated," said Tony Hall, the Director General of the BBC.
"On screen he helped to define a new style of comedy from the late 1970s that continues to influence people to this day."
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