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Friday, 21 April, 2000, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Brookside favourite dies

Brookside is one of Britain's most popular soaps
Veteran comedian and actor Bill Dean, who played Harry Cross in Brookside, has died aged 78.

He had been ill for some time and passed away after suffering a heart attack on Thursday at the Arrowe Park Hospital on The Wirral.

The soap's creator, Phil Redmond, said his death was a tragedy.

"Bill was not just part of the family but part of the furniture at Mersey TV."

Dean's entry into showbusiness was delayed by World War II - he volunteered for the Royal Air Force and was trained as an armourer.

Post-war comic

He saw service in a number of theatres of war, notably in North Africa and Italy.

Following his demobilisation he became a professional comic, with a considerable following around the clubs of Merseyside and the North West.

But he was also a prolific actor with many film credits to his name - including one billing alongside Elizabeth Taylor.

But it is for his time in Brookside that Dean will be best remembered.

He played curmudeonly pensioner Harry Cross, the scourge of the close for a decade.

Three months ago he made a return appearance playing an ageing Harry, who had wandered back to the close while suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

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