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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 17:42 GMT
Actor Barry Foster dies
Barry Foster
Barry Foster starred in Hitchcock's Frenzy
Actor Barry Foster, best known for his role as the 1970s TV detective Van der Valk, has died after a suspected heart attack.

The 70-year-old actor had been appearing in the current cast of the long-running West End play Art but was taken ill on Friday.

Nigel Havers, Roger Lloyd Pack and Barry Foster
Foster with his Art cast members
He is thought to have had a heart attack while being cared for at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford.

Foster's agent Sandy Rees, who worked with him for more than 20 years, said: "He was a great wit and had the clearest intelligence and enthusiasm."


Foster was most recently appearing alongside Nigel Havers and Roger Lloyd Pack in Art, at the Whitehall Theatre, London.

They think I'm Inspector Morse, or else it's Jon Pertwee in Dr Who or Keith Barron from Duty Free

Barry Foster
Foster, and the other two actors, have appeared as a trio in the popular play several times.

The theatre has said that the touring cast of Art will perform on Monday night.

Foster's wife or more than 40 years, Judith, had said she wanted the performance of Art to take place as planned.

Foster became one of TV's best known stars when he appeared as Dutch cop Piet Van Der Valk in the series set in Amsterdam.

Good health

Other highlights from his long career include a major role in Alfred Hitchcock thriller Frenzy, the epic Ryan's Daughter, a TV dramatisation of the life of Orde Wingate and hit mercenary movie The Wild Geese.

Born in Nottingham, he had been in good health and his sudden heart attack is understood to have taken his family by surprise.

His agent said a recent stage role as Prospero had been "absolutely breathtaking".

Despite his well-loved appearances, he thought the public sometimes struggled to put a name to his face.

He once remarked: "The trouble is that people often mistake me for someone else. They think I'm Inspector Morse, John Thaw, or else it's Jon Pertwee in Dr Who or Keith Barron from Duty Free.


"In fact I attribute a good deal of my success to being confused with these people."

Two of his three children - Miranda and Joanna - followed him into the acting profession and he also had two grandchildren.

His guest appearances in TV shows have included Inspector Morse, Bergerac and Roger, Roger and his most recent movie appearance was in the low-key British film Rancid Aluminium.

See also:

31 Jul 01 | Arts
Art celebrates 2000th show
28 Mar 01 | Arts
George Segal joins Art
08 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Skinner joins Art cast
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