Love Thy Neighbour actor Jack Smethurst dies at 89

Love Thy Neighbour star Jack Smethurst has died aged 89.

The actor was best known for playing bigoted factory worker Eddie Booth in the 1970s sitcom.

Smethurst’s son Adam announced his death on Twitter and shared a series of photos from his personal life and career.

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He wrote: “Today we said farewell to our dear Dad. He was much loved and brought joy to many. Our entire family give thanks to a long and fruitful life. Jack Smethurst 1932 – 2022.”

Pemberton Associates actors’ agency tweeted: “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.”

The company added: “He had thousands of amazing stories and was a genuinely lovely man.”

Born in Manchester, Smethurst made his film debut in the 1958 farce Carry On Sergeant and secured roles throughout the 60s in productions such as the kitchen sink dramas A Kind Of Loving and Saturday Night And Sunday Morning.

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It was in 1972 that he landed his best known role playing Booth in Love Thy Neighbour, a white socialist who is shocked when a black couple move in next door.

His outlook and racist language was often contrasted with that of his wife Joan, played by Kate Williams, who had a more welcoming attitude to their new neighbours.

The series, which has since attracted controversy over its handling of issues of race, ran for eight series between 1972 and 1976 on ITV.

Comedian Tommy Cannon was among those paying tribute.

He said on Twitter: “Sending condolences to jack Smethurst’s family, our first panto season together.”

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John Altman, best known for playing Nick “Nasty Nick” Cotton in EastEnders, added: “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.”