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Last Updated: Friday, 7 September 2007, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Emmerdale's Amos actor dies at 87
Ronald Magill as Amos Brearly
Ronald Magill's character was a mainstay of the Yorkshire soap

Actor Ronald Magill, who played Amos Brearly in TV soap Emmerdale over three decades, has died at the age of 87.

Magill joined the ITV show when it began as Emmerdale Farm in 1972, and was last seen in the soap in the 1990s.

His character was renowned for running the Woolpack pub with Henry Wilks, and for his distinctive bushy sideburns.

Executive producer Keith Richardson said Magill's endearing performances made Amos "one of the best-loved characters in Emmerdale's history".

"Everyone at Emmerdale is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ronald Magill," he said.

A class character actor who played his part brilliantly when soaps had some credibility
Colin Healey, Plymouth

Magill was born in Hull in April 1920, but was raised in Birmingham.

He started his career on the stage, and was artistic director of the Nottingham Playhouse in the 1960s.

He also had a small part in the 1970 film Julius Caesar, with Charlton Heston and Sir John Gielgud.

Magill made his debut as Amos in the first episode of Emmerdale - transmitted in October 1972.

The larger-than-life landlord was a mainstay of the soap - along with Wilks and Annie Sugden - until he left the regular cast in January 1991.

He gave it his soul - Amos wasn't just a character, you always felt like you knew him
Bernard Palmer
But he returned to the soap for brief appearances later that decade, including his marriage to Annie in 1995. His final appearance was on 7 July that year.

His friend Bernard Palmer said the actor "loved" working on Emmerdale.

"They were very much a family, and he enjoyed it very, very much indeed," he told the BBC News website.

"Professionally, he was word-perfect, and I think that went back to his repertory days when he had a lot of lines to learn."

Mr Palmer said that off-screen, Magill was "very much a dapper gentleman".

"No matter where he was, he always had time for fans. If they came over to him, he would put his knife and fork down or whatever, and speak to them.

Ronald Magill and Stan Richards, who played Seth
Magill (left) returned in the early 1990s for a few one-off episodes
"It was the character of Amos that people loved, but I think it was an integration of the character and him," he said.

"He gave it his soul. Amos wasn't just a character. You always felt like you knew him."

Steven Murphy, editor of Inside Soap magazine, said Magill would be fondly remembered by Emmerdale fans.

"I watched it from a very young age and just remember him being one of the archetypal characters of the time, and there have not been many like him since," he said.

"The sideburns really stood out for me, and I think that goes for everyone. If you say his name, people still remember his sideburns and 'Nay, Mr Wilks' catchphrase."

He went on: "It was a much tamer time in the Woolpack in those days - there was none of the sex and sin we see these days, but there were still strong, dramatic storylines.

"I think his legacy lives on in characters like Betty and Edna, strong, older Yorkshire characters that you can have a bit of fun with too."

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