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This is Spinal Tap actor Tony Hendra dies aged 79

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Kristina Bumphrey/Starpix/Shutterstock (5633874ai)
Tony Hendra
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Kristina Bumphrey/Starpix/Shutterstock (5633874ai) Tony Hendra

Actor, writer and satirist Tony Hendra, who played cricket-bat wielding manager Ian Faith in rock mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, has died aged 79.

A respected comedy writer in America, Hendra was born and educated in England before moving across the pond in 1964 as part of comedy duo with Nick Ullett, where they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Hendra, who was a contemporary of John Cleese as a member of the Cambridge Footlights revue, was also a founding editor of National Lampoons Magazine in the US.

He later became head-writer on the long running UK political satire Spitting Image.

Born in Herefordshire in 1941, was first educated at St Albans School – where he was a classmate of theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking – he was later accepted to Cambridge University, where he first found his footing in comedy due to being a member of the Footlights team.

Moving to America in the mid-60s, Hendra’s comedy act with Ullett saw them work alongside Lenny, Bruce and Woody Allen, among others.

It was in 1972 that was appointed by National Lampoon Magazine founders Doug Kenney and Henry Beard as editor of the publication.

However, Hendra is perhaps best known for his work on the long-running satirical television show, Spitting Image, where he wrote the first six episodes in 1984.

In the same year he also starred in Rob Reiner’s cult rock spoof, This is Spinal Tap, playing put-upon band manager, Ian Faith.

Hendra delighted audiences as Faith, who often threatened those who failed to live up to the rock bands expectations by wielding a cricket bat.

The film also starred Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer.

Director Rob Reiner, who took to Twitter to pay tribute to Hendra, described him as a “brilliant satirist”, while John Cleese also paid tribute to his “old friend”.

He died in Yonkers, New York, aged 79 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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