Actor George Cole, best known for playing wheeler-dealer Arthur Daley in hit 1980s ITV series Minder, has died aged 90. “It is with deep regret that I have to announce the sad death of one of our most loved and respected actors,” said Cole’s agent Derek Webster on Thursday.
“George Cole passed away yesterday at the Royal Berkshire Hospital after a short illness. His wife Penny and his son Toby were with him at his bedside.”
Cole starred alongside Dennis Waterman for ten series of Minder between 1979 and 1994. Waterman played tough yet principled bodyguard Terry McCann to Cole’s small-time conman and dodgy dealer Daley, who became one of television’s most recognisable characters during the show’s heyday in the 1980s.
In 1983, the duo even released a Christmas single as Arthur and Terry, entitled What We Gonna Get For ‘Er Indoors, a nod to Arthur’s oft referred to but never seen wife in the series.
“I am so sad to hear of George’s death,” said Waterman in a statement. “His family must be devastated, and I am absolutely certain that anybody who ever knew him, will feel the same.
“I’m so grateful to have been a friend of this wonderful man. We worked together for many years and my boast is that we laughed all day every day.
“He was an amazing man, a wonderful actor and besotted with his family. I had the privilege of spending Tuesday afternoon with him and Penny and, although very frail, his wit was as evident as ever. Farewell old friend.”
Cole was also known for his recurring role in the St Trinian’s comedy films about the rambunctious private girls’ school. In four films between 1954 and 1966, he played local spiv Flash Harry, a part that in hindsight was perfect practice for Arthur Daley.