Page last updated at 10:44 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 11:44 UK

Former Dynasty star Christopher Cazenove dies

Christopher Cazenove
The British actor was best known for his role in Dynasty

British actor Christopher Cazenove has died after a "valiant battle" with septicaemia, his family has said.

The actor, who played Ben Carrington in 1980s US soap opera Dynasty, was 66.

Former co-star Joan Collins called him "an absolutely charming man and a very good actor", with whom she had "very much enjoyed" working on Dynasty.

In a statement released by his agent, his family and girlfriend Isabel Davis said the actor had "died peacefully surrounded by his loved ones".

He died on Wednesday at St Thomas's Hospital, London, after contracting septicaemia at the end of February.

He was an absolutely charming man and a very good actor. I very much enjoyed working with him during my time on Dynasty
Joan Collins pays tribute to Christopher Cazenove

The news comes a week after the death of John Forsythe, the former Dynasty star who played oil tycoon Blake Carrington - brother to Ben Carrington.

The statement - released by Lesley Duff, his agent for the past 12 years - said: "Christopher died peacefully on April 7 surrounded by his loved ones, having contracted septicaemia at the end of February.

"Despite a valiant fight and the untiring efforts of the wonderful team at St Thomas's, he was overwhelmed.

"All who knew and loved him will be devastated by the loss of this incredible man who touched so many lives."

Comedian Les Dennis, a friend of Cazenove's, said he was "a wonderful actor to work with but, more importantly, a wonderful man to know".

Household name

The actor, who was born in Winchester, Hampshire, first found fame as Charlie Tyrrell in 1970s mini-series The Duchess of Duke Street.

He then went on to play The Baron in the TV adaptation of Jeffrey Archer's novel Kane and Abel, and Captain Preston in the WWII drama Jenny's War, both released in 1985.

I worked with Christopher, he was a true gentleman and a dedicated actor
Patrick Lau, London

But it was the old Etonian's short time as Ben Carrington in Dynasty that made him a household name on both sides of the Atlantic.

He made a return to British TV from 2001 when he played Assistant Deputy Police Commissioner Row Colemore in BBC drama Judge John Deed.

Although best known for his television work, Cazenove made a number of movie appearances over the years.

On the back of his Dynasty success, he landed a key role in the 1990 comedy Three Men and a Little Lady, the sequel to Three Men and a Baby.

He played the English scoundrel Edward Hargreave, who plans to marry the mother of the "little lady" at the centre of the storyline and move them both away from the characters played by Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson.

Christopher Cazenove with Les Dennis
Cazenove appeared with Les Dennis (r) in the stage play Art in 2003

One of his other memorable movie roles came in 2001 when he played John Thatcher, the father of the late Heath Ledger's character William Thatcher, in A Knight's Tale.

He also regularly appeared on the stage and on radio.

"His generosity of spirit never failed to inspire me," said Dennis, who co-starred with Cazenove in a production of the play Art in 2003.

"I cannot think of times spent with him without smiling. He was a true and loyal friend and my family and I will miss him very much."

Cazenove was married to actress Angharad Rees for more than 20 years. They had two sons together, Linford and Rhys.

Linford, the elder of the two, died in a car crash on the M11 in Essex in 1999, aged 25.

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