Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 13:11 UK

Obituary: Clive Hornby

Clive Hornby as Jack Sugden
Clive Hornby's other TV credits include Minder and Space: 1999
Actor Clive Hornby, who played Jack Sugden in ITV1 soap Emmerdale, has died at the age of 63.

The star had been on the programme for 28 years - its longest-serving cast member - after signing up on a three-month contract.

Born on 20 October 1944, Hornby was raised in Liverpool with his younger sister Margaret in a middle-class home.

His father was a chief engineer in a shipping firm and his mother stayed at home.

After leaving school, he trained to be an accountant but dropped out to play the drums in '60s chart band The Dennisons.

His father gave up work to manage the group, who were compared to The Beatles and played on the same bill as the Fab Four at Liverpool's famous Cavern Club.

The Dennisons had two hit singles - (Come On) Be My Girl and Walkin' The Dog - and Hornby became something of a heart throb, often requiring a police escort to and from gigs.

But the group disbanded in 1966 after their final track, Nobody Like My Babe, failed to make an impression and Hornby turned his attention to acting.

"I decided I wanted to be an actor and took lessons at the Crane Studios for an hour a week," he said later.

"The other boys in the band took the mick out of me something rotten"

Hornby found work as an assistant stage manager at the Liverpool Playhouse and then began training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before going into repertory theatre.

He collected numerous stage credits, including Oh What a Lovely War, Macbeth, The Homecoming, An Inspector Calls and The Philanthropist.

Reluctant to audition

Hornby's early TV roles came in sci-fi series Space: 1999, the Robert Lindsay sitcom Get Some In and Minder in 1979.

He was called up for an audition on Emmerdale during a theatre strike - an audition which he told the Daily Mirror in 2000 that he did not initially want to go to, but went so as not to upset his agent.

Clive Hornby as Jack Sugden
Clive Hornby had been away from Emmerdale since January as he was ill
He landed the part of Jack Sugden, who had previously been played by Andrew Burt.

Hornby first appeared in Emmerdale on 19 February 1980, at the age of 35.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror in 2007 about his early days in the show, he said: "It really was about farming then - I'd milk the cows, drive the combine harvester, plough fields.

"On my first day on location, we had to deliver a calf."

Fact followed fiction when Hornby married Helen Weir, who played his first on-screen wife, Pat, in 1986.

Together they had a son, Thomas, and after his birth Weir left the drama and was killed off in a car crash the same year. Hornby later split with the actress.

Famous flat cap

In 1997 Hornby was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung after filming a scene where he pushed a tractor.

He spent eight days in hospital, but it did not affect the soap's filming.

The actor had his fair share of big storylines: his character's second wife died in a barn fire and he was also shot by his son. Jack later married pub landlady Diane Blackstock.

However through all the plot developments, one thing remained steadfastly the same - Jack's flat cap and wax jacket.

"Believe it or not, I still wear the same cap, the one I was given on my first day," he told The Mirror.

Hornby had been taking a break from the soap since January because of ill health. He is survived by his 22-year-old son, Thomas.

Emmerdale actor Hornby dies at 63
04 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
In pictures: Emmerdale's Clive Hornby
04 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
Ill Emmerdale actor takes a break
22 Jan 08 |  Entertainment

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific