Andrew Sachs, clumsy, loveable waiter of ‘Fawlty Towers,’ dies at 86

Andrew Sachs. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Andrew Sachs, who became famous through his clumsy persona of Manuel in the British comedy “Fawlty Towers,” died on Nov. 23 at a care facility near his home in London from vascular dementia, the New York Times reported. He was 86.
The show, created by actors John Cleese and Connie Booth, was centered on hotel owner Basil Fawlty (Cleese), his wife Sybil (Prunella Scales), chambermaid Polly Sherman (Booth) and waiter Manuel.

The incessantly confused Manuel was particularly beloved fans of the show for continually asking “¿Qué?” when confronted by his boss, Basil.

“The idea that one could constantly have misunderstandings between Basil and Manuel was a terribly simple one, but it worked well and of course it could happen at any point,” Sachs told the BBC, NPR reported.
Andreas Siegfried Sachs was born April 7, 1930, in Berlin to Katharina (nee Schrott-Fiecht), who was Catholic, and Hans Emil Sachs, who was Jewish.

The family moved to London in 1938 to avoid Nazi persecution.

Sachs had a successful career in acting with appearances in British soap opera “Coronation Street,” the television mini-series “Going Postal” (2010) and film “Quartet” (2012).

Cleese tweeted about Sachs on Dec. 1, saying he was a “kind man and a truly great farceur. I first saw him in “Habeas Corpus” on stage in 1973. I could not have found a better Manuel.”

Cleese described his working relationship with Sachs to the Guardian, saying it was like “playing tennis with someone who is exactly as good as you are.”

“And you play with them every week, sometimes he wins and sometimes you win, but somehow there is a rapport. It comes from the very deepest part of ourselves. We never had to work at it, it all happened so easily,” NPR reported.

British television personality Piers Morgan tweeted: “Very sad to hear about [Andrew Sachs] — a true comedy legend & great actor. Thinking of you [John Sachs] & all the family. RIP.

He is survived by his wife, Melody Lang; her sons, whom he adopted, Bill and John; daughter Katie Bailie; sister Barbara Sachs; four grandchildren and brother, Tom.

—Justin Katz

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