Page last updated at 02:26 GMT, Saturday, 5 September 2009 03:26 UK

Keith Waterhouse: Your memories

Keith Waterhouse
Keith Waterhouse leaves behind two children and two ex-wives

Author and playwright Keith Waterhouse has died "quietly in his sleep" at the age of 80, a spokeswoman has announced.

He was one of Britain's most prolific authors, with more than 60 books, plays and television scripts to his credit.

He also wrote a long-running, straight-talking newspaper column for more than 50 years, starting at the Mirror before switching to the Daily Mail in 1986.

BBC News website readers have been getting in touch with their memories of Keith Waterhouse. Below is selection of their comments.


I was one of the actors in a production of 'Billy Liar' at the King's Head theatre in London in 1998. Keith Waterhouse attended a performance with his co-writer Willis Hall and I remember hearing him laughing at the lines he had written forty years before. At times, he was the only member of the audience laughing.
Philip Pickard, London, UK

I used to avidly read Keith Waterhouse's column in the Daily Mirror regularly. Even if I did not agree with his point of view, his writing was always extremely entertaining. His departure from the paper in 1986 marked the Daily Mirror's decline into virtually a daily comic! His death is a great loss.
Les Chatfeild, Brighton, UK

I used to see Keith Waterhouse having lunch at his regular restaurant in Earl's Court, London. Being from Leeds and from his working class background I eventually plucked up courage to introduce myself - he barely looked up and when I said I too was from Leeds he muttered "good" and continued reading his paper and drinking his wine! Shortest conversation ever!
Craig Gaunt, London, UK

I met Keith a few times over the years and he was a very, very nice man. Terrific sense of humour - he loved the absurd. He was also a mix of sentimentalist and hard-bitten hack, which meant he had interesting opinions. He enjoyed a drink but not being drunk and told me that the reason he gave up smoking was to avoid hangovers - made much worse by nicotine, he believed.
I'm sad that he died, glad that I knew him, albeit not closely, and happy that he died peacefully after a long life generally bringing happiness and laughter to others.
Rupert RG, Brighton, UK

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell remains one of the funniest plays I have ever seen. What a writing talent Waterhouse was but could a young boy with writing talent from a council estate in Leeds still make it to the heights of Fleet Street?
Tahir, London, UK

I read Billy Liar at school. It was part of two books in one, the other being The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, by Alan Silittoe. I was never interest in reading books until these books were given to me. The books are funny, but also true to life and about ordinary people. I am sure Keith Waterhouse encouraged people to read who would not normally read.
Alex Guberman, Pinner, UK

He was compulsive reading every time his column appeared. I skimmed the rest of paper, but stopped to read his piece fully. His shop girls (Sharon and Tracy) were true to life as well as his local government stories. I'm convinced they happened. He will be sadly missed.
Gordon Lorimer, Rochdale, UK

Never, in the field of the English language, did one man do so much for the humble apostrophe. Sadly missed.
Geoff, Helsinki, Finland

Billy Liar is so perfect and so special to me. I'm so sorry to hear the sad news, it feels like losing a favourite teacher. I never met Mr Waterhouse, but his work, especially Billy Liar, continues to resonate with me on all kinds of levels: roots and family, belonging, being bloody grateful, the north, death and responsibility, teenage sexuality, the generation gap, plastic coffins...what a marvellous legacy he leaves.
Vinny Peculiar, Manchester, UK

Just read City Lights for the 3rd time, it's fantastic! A fellow Leeds Loiner, Waterhouse encapsulates the Leeds of my childhood. I did Billy Liar for O level, and went on to read his other works for pure pleasure.
Diane Bovington, Leeds, UK

I was a fan for many years - his books, scripts and articles brought humour and tragedy alive. His supermarket checkout girls showed just how we haven't really travelled far since the days of his "family Ugg". His defence of the correct use of the apostrophe is legendary and his method of removing his addiction to cigarettes by "starting to not smoke" enabled me to kick the habit back in 1982.
Keith Waterhouse, thank you for everything you gave us, you made a big difference to our lives. You will be sorely missed.
Steve Stephenson, United Kingdom



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