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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Bollywood joker Walker dies
One of Bollywood's best known comedians, Johnny Walker, has died in Bombay, or Mumbai, after a long illness.

Walker appeared in more than 300 films spanning four decades including several blockbusters.

He retired from acting in the late 1980s and was staying with his family in Mumbai when he died, aged 79.

His death has been described as the end of an era by younger comedians who were influenced by him from the 1950s to the 80s.

His youngest son, Nasser Qazi, said: "He was ill for sometime and had grown very weak."

'Indian Bob Hope'

The burial would take place before sunset on Tuesday, he added.

The son of a textile factory worker, Walker changed his name from Badruddin Qazi at the start of his career to be named after the Scottish whisky.

His timing and his take on Indian life took him to the top, and Indians describe him as the country's answer to Bob Hope.

He enjoyed success with screen hits like CID, Mere Mehboob (My Love), Pyaasa (Thirsty) and Naya Daur (New Times).

He also sang some of Bollywood's most popular songs of the 1950s including Sar Jo Tera Chakraye (When Your Head Spins) and Yeh Hai Bambai meri Jaan (This is Bombay, My Sweetheart).

Disillusioned

Another Indian comedian, Asrani, told the BBC that Walker appealed to a cross section of society.

When Walker retired from the film industry in the late 1980s, he was quoted as saying he was disillusioned with the kind of movies being made and roles being offered.

But in the mid 90s he made a brief return with a cameo role in Chachi 420 - his last appearance on screen.

He is survived by his wife and six children.


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