Ian Lavender has died aged 77 (Picture: Michael Fresco/REX/Shutterstock)
Dad’s Army star Ian Lavender has died at the age of 77, it has been confirmed.
He is best known for playing the hapless Pike, who frequently had run-ins with Captain George Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe), calling him ‘Stupid Boy’, and who was looked after by Sergeant Arthur Wilson (John Le Mesurier).
Pike, the youngest member of the Home Guard troop and a bank clerk, would often refer to Wilson as Uncle Arthur as he was in a relationship with his overprotective mother Mavis Pike (Janet Davies).
The news of Lavender’s death was announced by the Dad’s Army’s social media account on Monday (February 5).
‘We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of the wonderful, Ian Lavender,’ the post began.
‘In what truly marks the end of an era, Ian was the last surviving member of the Dad’s Army main cast.
Lavender played Private Pike in the sitcom (Picture: Michael Fresco/REX/Shutterstock)
He became a household name after joining the show at the age of 22 (Picture: Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock)
‘His wonderful performance as Private Frank Pike will live on for decades to come. He leaves behind a legacy of laughter enjoyed by millions. We will dedicate this year’s tour to his memory.
‘Our thoughts and love are with Ian’s wonderful wife Miki, their family and close friends.’
Lavender – whose full name is Arthur Ian Lavender – first starred in Dad’s Army at the age of 22.
The Birmingham-born actor made his first television appearance as the lead in a Rediffusion play entitled Half Hour Story: Flowers at my Feet in 1968.
Lavender played Ron in The Glums (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
He starred in the 1970s comedy Stand Up and Be Counted (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)
From there, having mastered his talents among a cast of experienced actors, Lavender became a household name.
He appeared in the entire run of the hit series and in the spin-off film released in 1971.
Lavender reprised the part of Pike in the BBC Radio sitcom It Sticks Out Half a Mile, which was a sequel to Dad’s Army which ran for one series.
Continuing his association with the popular comedy, Lavender took part in fan conventions and cast reunions in the following years.
As for his other acting roles, post-Dad’s Army he is known for playing Derek Harkinson in EastEnders.
He joined the soap in 2001 as a gay friend of Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) and worked there for four years.
He also played Derek Harkinson in EastEnders from 2001-2005 (Picture: BBC)
His character was a friend of Pauline Fowler (Picture: BBC)
Lavender made a brief return in 2017 (Picture: BBC/Kieron McCarron)
Lavender returned to Walford in 2016 but left in 2017 after he became ill with sepsis, having previously been diagnosed with cancer and suffering a heart attack.
In the 1970s, Dad’s Army regularly attracted more than 18million viewers, becoming one of the most-watched television programmes of its time.
Royal Mail marked the 50th anniversary of the TV comedy classic Dad’s Army with a collection of stamps in 2018, featuring the main characters.
That same year, Lavender cleared up a long-standing mystery from the show during an interview with the Radio Times.
When asking creator David Croft if Uncle Arthur was Pike’s father, Lavender said: ‘He looked at me and said, “Of course he is!”‘
Lavender was first married to actress Suzanne Kerchiss. He married his second wife, American-born Miki Hardy, six days after being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1993, which was operated on successfully.
Lavender is survived by two children (Picture: Chris Barham/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock)
The stage star said previously: ‘We had been living together for 16 years and it was something I should have done a long time before, these things change you, they help you to see what is important in life.’
Lavender also survived a heart attack in the summer of 2004.
He had two children: Sam and Daniel.
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