George Cole, the actor best known for his role as small-time crook Arthur Daley in the TV show Minder, has died. He was 90.
Cole’s agent, Derek Webster, revealed that he died in the Royal Berkshire hospital following a brief illness. He was surrounded by his loved ones at the time, The Mirror reports.
The actor, whose career spanned seven decades, will be missed by many fans who took to Twitter to remember him and the way he had touched their lives.
But there are some things that you may not have known about George Cole.
1. He hated his most famous character
Though it was the role he was best known for, Cole hated the character of Arthur Daley. He revealed as much in his autobiography The World Was My Lobster, writing: “It used to be worrying sometimes when I got letters from young children saying that Arthur Daley was just like their dad. I wouldn’t wish that on any of them.
“In my opinion, he was a rather unlikable person. In fact, not to mince words, I think he was a dreadful character. I can’t understand how he could have become so popular.”
— Yuan Potts (@YuanPotts) August 6, 2015
2. He was adopted
Cole was adopted as an infant by two amateur musicians.
3. His mentor was Alastair Sim
Cole’s acting mentor was Alastair Sim, who he met while in theatre. According to The Guardian, Sims even let the budding actor live with him and his wife, Naomi, in their Oxfordshire home during World War II. The pair also appeared together in several films including The Belles of St. Trinian’s, which was Cole’s first major role.
4. He received one of the U.K.’s highest awards
In 1992 Cole was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, known as the MBE, which is “awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community.”
5. He served in the Royal Air Force
Cole’s career was interrupted by his service in the Royal Air Force from 1944 to 1947.
Gone but not forgotten. Our thoughts go out to all George Cole’s friends and family at this sad time.