Love Thy Neighbour star Jack Smethurst dies aged 89

Jack Smethurst has passed away credit:Bang Showbiz
Jack Smethurst has passed away credit:Bang Showbiz

Jack Smethurst has died aged 89.

The actor - who was best known for his role as Eddie Booth in the sitcom 'Love Thy Neighbour' - died peacefully in his sleep.

Pemberton Associates - the actor's agency - said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our former client, Jack Smethurst.

"He had a very long career, appearing in many iconic films and series. See the thread below for fabulous images.

"He had thousands of amazing stories and was a genuinely lovely man. RIP Jack. (sic)

Jack - who studied at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts before landing his role in 'Love Thy Neighbour' - also appeared in a number of well-known productions during his career, including 'Carry On Sergeant' and 'The Love Of Ada'.

However, he suggested in 2016 that his starring role on 'Love Thy Neighbour', which centred on two neighbours - one white and one black, led to him being "typecast".

Speaking about his part in the controversial sitcom, he explained: "I don't think it was the racial content; I think it's the fact that your face is so familiar. I think people are a lot more adaptable now in accepting that an actor who was playing one role is playing a different role this time.

"It must have lost me a few roles, but I more than made up for it. It's been a chequered career but it's been a rewarding one. I've enjoyed every minute."

Meanwhile, John Altman - who is best known for playing Nasty Nick in 'EastEnders' - has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the actor.

He wrote on the micro-blogging platform: "Saddened to hear that my old friend Jack Smethurst has passed away. He was great fun to work with.

"I will always have fond memories of the times we spent together. May he rest in peace."