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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 July, 2004, 22:33 GMT 23:33 UK
Obituary: Pat Roach
Pat Roach
Roach kept up his interest in fitness after acting took over wrestling
The actor Pat Roach, who starred in the hit TV series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, has died aged 67 after a battle with cancer.

BBC News Online looks at his career.

Pat Roach's love for his Birmingham roots never left him despite a career that took him from wrestling glory to the TV screen and Hollywood fame.

He was best known for playing Bomber in UK TV series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, but could also count Steven Spielberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger among his friends.

He was also an accomplished writer, and ran a fitness centre in his home city of Birmingham.

The self-effacing star, who has died of cancer aged 67, "projected reliability and fundamental decency", said the writers of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais said Roach had fought his illness with "enormous courage and determination".

Screen villain

"When we did the first series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, he was the one people recognised on the street, not as an actor, but a wrestler.

"He was the biggest man in the group and probably the quietest. Even if he never had the most lines, his was always a reassuring presence, the bass voice in the choir.

"He loved the show and being part of the team. He will be sorely missed by everyone."

Roach first found fame as a wrestler, rising through the ranks to become British and European heavyweight champion.

His first acting break came from cult movie director Stanley Kubrick, who cast him alongside Ryan O'Neal and Steven Berkoff in Barry Lyndon (1975).

The 6ft 4ins wrestler went on to gain parts in a string of blockbuster movies.

Cast of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
The Auf Wiedersehen, Pet cast have been close friends for over 20 years

But he defied those advising him to relocate to the United States, saying he loved his roots too much.

He featured in each of the Indiana Jones films, playing different roles each time.

Often cast as the screen villain, he also appeared in Never Say Never Again, Willow, Conan The Destroyer and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

One villain which the actor never played, despite auditioning for the part, was the Star Wars character Darth Vader.

But his appearances on the small screen made the actor a familiar face to thousands of British viewers.

He joined the original Auf Wiedersehen, Pet line-up for the first series in 1983.

Writers Clement and La Frenais were reunited with most of the original cast for a BBC come-back series in 2002.

A fourth series of the drama, set in Cuba, returned last winter.

Describing the show's success in an interview with the BBC, Roach said: "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet has overtaken everything now.

"I still get approached for autographs for wrestling, James Bond and Indiana Jones, but I now sign more Auf Wiedersehen, Pet autographs than ever before."

Roach's life story is told in the autobiography called "If", which is based on his favourite poem by Rudyard Kipling, and contains a foreword by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

His second book, Pat Roach's Birmingham, was published this year.


SEE ALSO:
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet actor dies
17 Jul 04 |  Entertainment


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