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Tuesday, 2 May, 2000, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Farewell to Brookside's Harry
Bill Dean's coffin
The coffin of Brookside actor Bill Dean
Stars from Liverpool's celebrity community turned out in force on Tuesday to say goodbye to Brookside's Harry Cross.

Actor and comedian Bill Dean, who played the cantankerous pensioner in the soap in the 1980s, died from a heart attack on 20 April.

Among the mourners were comedian Ken Dodd and Royle Family star Sue Johnston, who played Sheila Grant in the Channel 4 series.


Michael Starke, Louis Emerick, Dean Sullivan and Sue Johnston
Brookside stars past and present pay their respects at Bill Dean's funeral

The 78-year-old's coffin was carried into the service at Thornton crematorium, near Crosby in Merseyside to Frank Sinatra's My Way - his favourite song.

Priest Kevin Brennan told the congregation of 200 that the actor was "a friend to thousands and thousands of people".

Journalist John Keith, a friend of Dean's for 35 years, added: "It is a sad occasion, but Bill said to me very often that when this day came he didn't want people to be sorry, he wanted them to smile.

"And when I think of him I think of four words - `Whose round is it?'."

Dean's big break came in the 1940s, when he landed a part in the BBC play Golden Vision, about Everton footballer Alex Young.

Cult status

He had small parts in Coronation Street and The Sweeney and once shared a billing with screen legend Elizabeth Taylor in the film Night Watch.

But he was best remembered for his role as Harry Cross, which earned him cult status in the 80s and led to a cameo appearance in a pop video for The Farm.


Ken Dodd
Comedian Ken Dodd joins mourners at Bill Dean's funeral

Dean, who once described the character as the original "miserable old git", left Brookside in 1990, but reprised the role for three episodes last year.

The current cast was represented at the funeral by actors Michael Starke (Sinbad), Dean Sullivan (Jimmy Corkhill) and Louis Emerick (Mick Johnson).

Other stars who turned out to pay their last respects were former Liverpool footballers Ian Callaghan and Dave Higson, who also played for Everton and Tranmere.

Bill was a great-grandfather and had been living with his daughter on The Wirral, following the death of his wife, Peggy.

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21 Apr 00 | UK
Brookside favourite dies
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