Death Of Chiswick-Born Actor And Comedian Mel Smith

He spent his childhood in Chiswick before a career in comedy


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The death has been announced of actor and comedian Mel Smith, who grew up in Chiswick. He was aged sixty and had been ill for some time.

Mel Smith died on Friday following a heart attack at his home in north-west London, his agent announced today ( July 20).

Mel Smith ( left) with Griff Rhys Jones

The British comedian was known for the sketch shows Alas Smith and Jones and Not The Nine O'clock News and set up the independent television company, Talkback Productions with his friend Griff Rhys Jones.

Griff Rhys Jones said Smith was 'a force for life' to everybody who met him;
'We are all in a state of shock. We have lost a very, very dear friend.'

Others who paid tribute included Stephen Fry, comedy writer Graham Linehan (Father Ted) who said Mel Smith had given him his first break, writer Irvine Welsh, and comedians Johnny Vagas and Matt Lucas.

Born in Chiswick in 3 December 1952 over a fish and chip shop, Mel Smith went to school at Hogarth Primary School and then attended Latymer Upper.

His father had moved to London from Durham after the War and married Smith's mother whose parents owned a greengrocer's shop in Chiswick. When the government legalised high street betting he turned it into the first betting shop in Chiswick.

Smith went on to study psychology at Oxford and became involved with the Oxford Footlights. It was while at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that he met John Lloyd who invited him to join Not the Nine O Clock News.

Smith and Griff Rhys Jones continued to create the television comedy sketch show, Alas Smith and Jones. The pair later formed Talkback Production which was responsible for dozens of comedy shows, including Da Ali G Show and I'm Alan Partridge. The company was sold to Pearson for £62m in 2000.

On the morning of Friday, July 19th, London Ambulance was called to his home in north-west London and he was confirmed dead by the ambulance crew. A post mortem revealed death from a heart attack.

He is survived by his wife Pam.

July 20, 2013

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