Actor John Forgeham, star of The Italian Job, dies after falling out of bed

Rachel Roberts
The actor starred in the first three series of the ITV hit Footballers' Wives: Rex Features

The actor John Forgeham, who starred in The Italian Job, has died aged 75 after falling out of bed at his West Sussex home.

He broke his collar bone in the accident on Wednesday and was later rushed to hospital after suffering an internal bleed.

His daughter Jonesta confirmed yesterday that he died on Friday afternoon.

The West Midlands-born actor played Frank in the 1969 classic Michael Caine film and became known to a younger audience when he starred in the ITV series Footballers’ Wives, playing manager Frank Laslett.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, his daughter said: "Dad was a very talented actor and a charismatic and wonderful man.

"We had a close relationship and I was the person who looked after him. He would want to be remembered as this wonderful actor. He lived and breathed acting."

She added:"'It is still very raw. It is a shock because he died suddenly. We're all in shock.

"He had a fall on Wednesday night and called me on Friday morning to say he wasn't very well.

"He was rushed to hospital and he had some sort of burst inside – something ruptured. There was blood everywhere."

Born in Kidderminster in 1941, Forgeham joined an amateur dramatic society while working at a factory in his youth and later won a scholarship to RADA, graduating with a silver medal for best performing student.

He then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1966 to 1972, touring nationally and internationally, before founding the Globe Shakespeare Theatre in Sydney.

His other television credits included The Avengers, Z-Cars, Crossroads, Dynasty, The Sweeney, Ivanhoe, Bergerac and Prime Suspect.

His death follows a four year battle with mental health problems after he struggled to find work following the success of Footballers’ Wives, his family said.

The actor had problems with alcoholism and depression in his later years and “stared at a wall for four years”, according to his daughter, who said that he spent a year under section in a psychiatric institution after displaying “psychotic tendencies”.

“When he came out, social services dumped him back in his house and they left him there to rot.

“He wasn't paying his mortgage because he was ill and they were going to repossess his house.

“They sold his house and put the money in the bank because he wasn't mentally fit and he moved to an old people's home.

“Then all of a sudden he snapped out of it about a year ago and he was moved into a flat.”

She added that the ups and downs of life as a jobbing actor had “contributed to his depression”.

“He was troubled most of his life and he struggled with going up and down, but he lived and breathed acting.”

Tributes paid to the actor on Twitter include one from his screenwriter friend Simon Golding, who wrote: “So very sad to hear today the loss of my good friend, actor John Forgeham.

“A larger-than-life character & such a powerful actor. RIP John x.”

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