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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Zulu actor James Booth dies at 77
Veteran British actor James Booth, star of Zulu, has died at the age of 77.

Born in Croydon, Surrey, in 1927, the Rada-trained actor began his career on the stage at London's Old Vic theatre before being cast in the 1964 classic.

But his portrayal of Private Henry Hook as a thieving drunk would later inspire a campaign to restore the reputation of the Victoria Cross-winning soldier.

Booth divided his time between America and the UK, achieving success in later life in the cult US TV show Twin Peaks.

His role in Twin Peaks, as ex-convict Ernie Niles, followed appearances in Minder and Bergerac and a recurring role in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Earlier this year he filmed a small role as a 'grumpy old man' in Keeping Mum, a comedy starring Rowan Atkinson and Dame Maggie Smith.

Leading light

According to his widow Paula, with whom he had two sons and two daughters, he passed away peacefully at his Essex home on 11 August.

Born David Geeves-Booth, the former soldier trained at Rada with Albert Finney, Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole.

He subsequently became a leading light at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at Stratford East, in London, where he played the lead in the Lionel Bart musical Fings Ain't Wot They Used To Be.

His other films credits include Sparrers Can't Sing alongside Barbara Windsor and The Trials of Oscar Wilde with Peter Finch.

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