Society

Actor Andy Cunningham Dead At 67

| by Jonathan Constante

Actor Andy Cunningham has died at the age of 67.

Cunningham, best known for his role in the children's television show "Bodger And Badger," died June 5 at a hospital in Brighton, England, after a lengthy battle with cancer, Express reported. His little sister, Tessa, confirmed his death.

The actor was the creator of the hit series. He played handyman Simon Bodger and was also the voice of his companion, a mashed-potato-loving badger who donned a beret. The show aired on the BBC from 1989 to 1999, starting shortly after he worked on "Return of the Jedi," part of the "Star Wars" saga.

Tessa issued a statement on her brother's passing.

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“Andy lived to be loved and to make people laugh -- starting with me, his little sister," she told the Express. "He had a quicksilver brain, a rebellious attitude, boundless compassion particularly for the underdog, unstinting levels of generosity and, of course, a passion for mashed potato.”

”I adored him and, long before he found fame, was immensely proud to have the funniest, cleverest big brother in the universe," Tessa added.

Cunningham was also known for giving comedian Julian Clary his first gig when he was directing shows for the Covent Garden Community Theatre Group. The two remained close friends afterward.

Cunningham was also in a long-term relationship with his colleague, Jane Bassett, who played Mousey in the show "Bodger and Badger." The couple separated several years ago, but remained close friends. Bassett was with him in the hospital when he died.

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Several friends and fans posted tributes on social media to commemorate Cunningham.

“I'm going to have mashed potato for dinner tonight. Bodger, from Bodger and Badger has died. RIP Andy Cunningham," Broadcaster Tony Shepherd wrote.

"So sad to hear Andy Cunningham has died," Comedian Charmian Hughes wrote on Facebook, according to The Sun. "I first met him doing his magic show when I was being a terrible clown at the same event and we were near neighbors in Islington.

"I last saw him at the Brighton fringe about three years ago and he was very mischievous in my audience. Actually, he was my audience. RIP sweet man."

Fan Dave Godfrey told The Sun he visited Cunningham's house for a signing just two weeks earlier.

"He said the day before that he was feeling a little under the weather and was going to cancel the signing, but he didn't want to let us down," Godfrey said.

"Thanks for the laughs Sir. Tonight I shall have Mash Potato," wrote ventriloquist Andy Williams.

Sources: Express, The Sun / Photo credit: It's-is-not-a-genitive/Wikipedia

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