Legendary tough-guy actor Dennis Waterman has passed away at the age of 74.

One of the most popular television actors of the 1970s and 80s, Waterman starred as bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder after first finding fame as tough nut cop George Carter in The Sweeney.

In more recent years, he starred as Gerry Standing in the BBC’s New Tricks, and throughout his career other TV roles included ITV’s Where The Heart Is, The Canterbury Tales and Moses Jones, both for the BBC.

In a statement, his family shared that he passed away in Spain with his wife Pam at his side.

They stated: ‘We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis passed away very peacefully at his home in Spain. The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.’

A number of tributes have flooded in as news broke of Waterman’s death:

Producer Jonathan Sothcott tweeted: ‘Dennis Waterman was one of our biggest TV stars throughout the 70s and 80s, an everyman figure who felt like one of us. A naturalistic, nuanced actor.

‘Terrific in The Sweeney, unforgettable in Minder (helluva song too, lampoonery aside). They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.’

Actor Stuart Anthony said: ‘Dennis Waterman has left us. What a fantastic talent and lovely man. Such a loss to the industry. RIP.’

Newsreader Kay Burley posted: ‘A brilliant actor who was a staple on our screens throughout the 70s and 80s. Loved The Sweeney. Loved Minder more.’

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles also today reminisced about a charity golf trip he took alongside Waterman.

Knowles tweeted: ‘I played golf on a tour to Bermuda with Dennis Waterman – I’m not much of a golfer – he was – but it was time spent with him between rounds that were well worth the trip. A genuinely lovely guy. RIP.’

Journalist John Sweeney tweeted: ‘RIP Dennis Waterman. The Sweeney was everything great TV drama should be: gritty, honest, true.’

Actor and writer Reece Shearsmith added: ‘RIP Dennis Waterman. When I worked with him on “New Tricks” he made me the best cups of tea.

‘And of course I just spent the time grilling him about “Scars of Dracula”.’

Former Eastenders actor Craig Fairbrass said: ‘Truly upset & gutted hearing this news. I loved him – my days will never be the same watching ITV4 Sweeney & Minder. Quality classic TV. RIP Dennis x’

Minder was later revived by Channel 5 in 2009, but Waterman did not return for the new season. Other career highlights included numerous stints on the stage and he played Alfred Doolittle in a Royal National Theatre production of My Fair Lady, as well as starring in a tour production of Don’t Dress For Dinner.

His talents did not end with acting and he had a keen interest in music, having recorded albums and singles, including songs which charted in Australia, New Zealand and Britain.

The final project of his acting career came in 2020 in the form of Australian drama-comedy film Never Too Late.

Waterman married his fourth wife Pam Flint in 2011 after being friends for many years and they remained together until his passing.

Image: Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.

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