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Monday, June 28, 1999 Published at 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK


Former Street star Fred dies

Fred Feast played foil to legendary landlady Annie Walker

Coronation Street actors have been paying tribute to their former colleague Fred Feast, who has died after a long illness aged 69.

Feast left the long-running ITV soap in 1984 after nine years as cellarman Fred Gee because of overwork and stress.

Months after he left Coronation Street, he found he had cancer of the throat.

He was cleared of the cancer after an operation and six years of treatment. His last illness involved major abdominal surgery.

Feast's character was only finally killed off in Coronation Street in January this year, when his on-screen ex-wife, Eunice, disclosed his death.

Meg Johnson, who plays Eunice, said: "He was a joy to work with. The scenes we did were hilarious.

"Although I haven't seen Fred for some time, it is terribly sad that he is no longer with us."

Started career alongside Forsyth

Liz Dawn, who plays Vera Duckworth, said: "I visited him in hospital a while ago and wanted to visit him again, but unfortunately he was not well enough. It is very sad."

"Fred was always full of life. He enjoyed life to the full," added Bill Roache, alias Ken Barlow.

"Even though I hadn't seen him for some time, I can still feel the loss."

[ image: Co-star Bill Roache:
Co-star Bill Roache: "He enjoyed life to the full"
Feast was an RAF paratroop instructor before he went into showbusiness as a stand-up comic at the Windmill Theatre alongside Bruce Forsyth.

Acting roles followed in Nearest And Dearest, Soldier and Me, and Another Sunday and Sweet FA.

He also appeared in the films The Red Beret and All Creatures Great And Small.

His most recent role was as pigeon-fancying Arthur in hit British film Little Voice, which was set in Scarborough.

Legendary character

Feast's character, Fred Gee, first appeared on the Street in 1976 after the death of his wife Edna in a warehouse fire.

He became legendary landlady Annie Walker's driver and servant as well as cellarman.

In 1981 Fred Gee married Eunice Nuttall to try to increase his chances of getting his own pub.

But his hopes were scuppered when she turned out to have stolen from the till in a pub where she previously worked. Six months later she ran off with a local councillor.

Feast leaves three daughters and three grandchildren. His funeral will be held next Thursday.

His wife of 44 years Kathleen said: "We're going to miss him.

"He passed away peacefully with his family around him."

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