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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 December 2006, 12:28 GMT
In pictures: Charlie Drake

Charlie Drake in 1957

Slapstick comic Charlie Drake, who has died aged 81, was one of TV's most popular comedians from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Charlie Drake in 1961

His early characters included Charlie the Kid - a spoof of Billy the Kid. His diminutive stature and blond hair made him instantly recognisable.

Charlie Drake in 1967

Drake also starred in a number of comedy films, such as 1967's Mr Ten Per Cent. However, his film career did not match the success of his TV work.

Charlie Drake in 1968

He was happy to clown around on TV - but gained a reputation as a perfectionist. "He would not accept compromise," manager Laurie Mansfield recalls.

Charlie Drake in 1968

At one point, Drake owned 14 racehorses, a Surrey mansion, two of the most expensive cars in the world and a yacht. However, his TV work dried up by the end of the 1970s.

Charlie Drake in 1984

By the 1980s he had reinvented himself as a straight actor, seen here playing Smallweed in a BBC adaptation of Bleak House. He also starred in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker.

Charlie Drake

A stroke in 1995 saw Drake retire after a 50-year career. He spent the final two years of his life in the entertainment industry's London retirement home, Brinsworth House.

Slapstick comic Drake dies at 81
24 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Obituary: Charlie Drake
24 Dec 06 |  Entertainment

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