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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Grange Hill favourite Sheard dies
Michael Sheard as Mr Bronson in Grange Hill
Michael Sheard became a cult hero in Grange Hill and Star Wars
Actor Michael Sheard, best known for playing teacher Mr Bronson in long-running children's TV drama Grange Hill in the 1980s, has died aged 65.

Sheard gained wider fame as Admiral Ozzel in 1980 Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back.

His other films included Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade - one of a string of appearances as Adolf Hitler - and he was a regular guest in Doctor Who.

His agent said he had cancer and died at home on the Isle of Wight.

In Grange Hill, his stern manner and cries of "You, boy" as deputy head Maurice Bronson made him one of TV's most memorable figures.

Michael Sheard as Adolf Hitler in Rogue Male
Michael Sheard played Adolf Hitler five times
Born in Aberdeen, he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) in London before winning parts in TV shows such as Dixon of Dock Green and Crossroads.

With a series of roles in Doctor Who spanning more than 20 years, he boasted that he starred alongside more Doctors than any other actor.

He was even touted as a potential Doctor himself. "Things got in the way," he told the BBC's Wiltshire website in 2003. "It would have been fun to do."

In Star Wars, he was memorably choked by Darth Vader - and said George Lucas told him it was "the best screen death I've ever seen".

At the time, Star Wars was "just another part in a very busy actor's career", he said, but it has secured him a place in the hearts of Star Wars fans and an Admiral Ozzel action figure came out last year.

Michael Sheard as Mr Bronson in Grange Hill
Michael Sheard played Mr Bronson from 1985-89
He regularly appeared at Star Wars, cult TV and 1980s-themed conventions and club nights.

He played Hitler five times and Himmler three times - but said playing Goering's double in sitcom 'Allo 'Allo was his worst performance.

Other film appearances included Raiders of the Lost Ark, All Quiet On The Western Front and The Dirty Dozen - Second Assignment.

He appeared alongside Dame Peggy Ashcroft in 1980 TV movie Caught on a Train and said Escape to Athena with Roger Moore was his favourite role.

Moore wrote the foreword to the first of three autobiographies, Yes, Mr Bronson: Memoirs of a Bum Actor, published in 1997.

Sheard once said he "wouldn't have missed dear old Bronson for anything".

"He was scary, but as an actor Mr Bronson was a lovely part to play."

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