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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 August, 2003, 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK
Actor Don Estelle dies
Don Estelle
Don Estelle played Lofty in the 70s sitcom
The actor and singer Don Estelle has died after a long illness.

The diminutive actor, only 4ft 9in tall, starred as Lofty in the 1970s sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum, which was set in Burma during World War II.

In 1975 he had a number one hit with Whispering Grass, dueting with Windsor Davies, who played the bullying sergeant-major in the show.

Mr Estelle died, aged 70, in Rochdale Infirmary.

His widow Elizabeth said: "He had a lovely singing voice, he regretted it was not more well known.

He had a lovely singing voice, he regretted it was not more well known
Elizabeth Estelle
Widow
"He loved singing more than anything but he loved comedy as well.

"He lived absolutely for his showbiz career. He loved his music more than anything."

Choirboy

Born in Manchester, Mr Estelle's career started in the choir of Holy Trinity Church in the town of Darwen, Lancashire, where he had been evacuated to during World War II.

He developed his music and comedic talents, touring first in the north of England club circuit, then throughout the UK when he teamed up with Windsor Davies, who was to become his co-star in It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

He toured New Zealand and Australia repeatedly in the 1990s and continued to appear on stage in the UK.

He recently had a cameo appearance in the cult comedy TV show The League of Gentlemen.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Don Estelle singing on It Ain't Half Hot Mum




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