Bill Treacher, who played Arthur Fowler in EastEnders, has died aged 92, his family said 


Bill Treacher, who became a household name during his 11 years as Arthur Fowler in EastEnders, has died aged 92, his family said.

In a statement, Mr Treacher’s Australian actress wife, Katherine Kessey, and two children Sophie and Jamie, revealed the retired actor’s health ‘had been declining for some time’.

‘Bill was a brilliant actor and a wonderful husband and father, plus a very fine human being,’ they said. ‘He will be hugely missed.’ 

Mr Treacher died on Saturday evening, his family said.

In a statement, Mr Treacher's (centre left with his wife and children) family revealed the retired actor's health 'had been declining for some time'

In a statement, Mr Treacher’s (centre left with his wife and children) family revealed the retired actor’s health ‘had been declining for some time’ 

The 92-year-old was the first actor to be cast in EastEnders and appeared from the pilot episode, back in February 1985. He played the role for 11 years, making him the eighth-longest serving actor in the history of the program. Pictured: The original EastEnders cast on set in 1984 (Mr Treacher is pictured third from the right)

The 92-year-old was the first actor to be cast in EastEnders and appeared from the pilot episode, back in February 1985. He played the role for 11 years, making him the eighth-longest serving actor in the history of the program. Pictured: The original EastEnders cast on set in 1984 (Mr Treacher is pictured third from the right)

Mr Treacher starred alongside Wendy Richard as husband and wife from the very first episode of EastEnders (pictured together)

Mr Treacher starred alongside Wendy Richard as husband and wife from the very first episode of EastEnders (pictured together)

The 92-year-old was one of the first actors to be cast in EastEnders and appeared in the first episode, back in February 1985

The 92-year-old was one of the first actors to be cast in EastEnders and appeared in the first episode, back in February 1985

He’d spent the last 18 years happily retired in Suffolk with Ms Kessey. 

In 2015, he revealed he’d been diagnosed with ataxia, a degenerative disease that hinders balance and the ability to walk. As a result of the condition, Mr Treacher was relying on a wheelchair and had retired from acting. 

The 92-year-old was the first actor to be cast in EastEnders and appeared from the pilot episode, back in February 1985. He played the role for 11 years, making him the eighth-longest serving actor in the history of the program.

When leaving in 1996, Mr Treacher famously said ‘by the time I finished, even the theme music was making me feel ill’. 

He revealed the gruelling schedule and long working hours were negatively impacting his health, and doctors warned if he didn’t start relaxing more ‘it would kill him’. 

After his character was killed off, he went on to appear in The Musketeer, Tale Of The Mummy, and George And The Dragon. 

When leaving EastEnders in 1996, Mr Treacher (pictured left in an episode in 1994) famously said 'by the time I finished, even the theme music was making me feel ill'

When leaving EastEnders in 1996, Mr Treacher (pictured left in an episode in 1994) famously said ‘by the time I finished, even the theme music was making me feel ill’

The 92-year-old  (pictured centre) was one of the first actors to be cast in EastEnders and appeared in the first episode, back in February 1985. Pictured on set with his on-screen wife and daughter in 1986

The 92-year-old  (pictured centre) was one of the first actors to be cast in EastEnders and appeared in the first episode, back in February 1985. Pictured on set with his on-screen wife and daughter in 1986

An EastEnders spokesperson said: 'It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Bill Treacher. As one of our original cast members, Bill created a much loved character in Arthur Fowler and, alongside Wendy Richard, they created an iconic family in the Fowlers who still remain at the heart of the show

An EastEnders spokesperson said: ‘It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Bill Treacher. As one of our original cast members, Bill created a much loved character in Arthur Fowler and, alongside Wendy Richard, they created an iconic family in the Fowlers who still remain at the heart of the show

He was married Australian actress wife, Katherine Kessey (pictured together at their wedding) , and the couple lived out their retirement in Suffolk

He was married Australian actress wife, Katherine Kessey (pictured together at their wedding) , and the couple lived out their retirement in Suffolk

An EastEnders spokesperson said: ‘It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Bill Treacher. As one of our original cast members, Bill created a much loved character in Arthur Fowler and, alongside Wendy Richard, they created an iconic family in the Fowlers who still remain at the heart of the show.

‘Bill left EastEnders in 1996 so it is a true testament to both he, and the character that he created in Arthur, that he is still thought of so fondly. Bill will always be remembered for his charm, sense of humour – with a smile that lit up the room – and more importantly as a family man who was devoted to his wife and children.

‘Bill will forever be held in great affection by everyone at EastEnders and all those that loved watching him.’

Former co-star Letitia Dean, who plays Sharon Watts on the long-running soap, was among the first to publicly pay tribute to Mr Treacher.

She said: ‘Bill really was the life and soul of the set. As an actor, he was meticulous and he went to great lengths to portray Arthur, from the smallest scenes to the heartbreaking stories. Bill was an utter professional, a wonderful man.’

Pictured: Bill Treacher

Pictured: Bill Treacher

'Bill will forever be held in great affection by everyone at EastEnders and all those that loved watching him'

Pictured: Alan Titchmarsh With Eastenders Actor Bill Treacher

An EastEnders spokesperson said: ‘Bill will forever be held in great affection by everyone at EastEnders and all those that loved watching him’

Former star Adam Woodyatt said Mr Treacher would ‘get this twinkle in his eye’ when he was up to mischief. 

‘You’d start laughing and he never got the blame. I used to love it when he was trying to remember his lines in rehearsal and he would just blunder and bluster until the correct word came out.’

Todd Carty, who played the Mr Treacher’s eldest son Mark on the program, said: ‘I’m so sorry to hear about Bill passing, I absolutely loved working with him. He was not only an amazing actor but a kind and sincere man.

‘My thoughts are with his family at this time. He’ll be sadly missed, I will never forget him. May he rest in peace.’

Chris Clenshaw, who served as an executive producer on the show during Mr Treacher’s tenure, said: ‘I have so many happy memories of Bill, in fact we were only sharing stories of him at work the other day, about how he always had a sparkle in his eyes, usually before he mischievously set us off laughing during scenes. 

‘Bill was a wonderful, wonderful man who will be truly missed and I am sending all our love to his wife Kate and his family.’

This is a developing story. More to come. 

He was married Australian actress wife, Katherine Kessey (pictured together), and the couple lived out their retirement in Suffolk

He was married Australian actress wife, Katherine Kessey (pictured together), and the couple lived out their retirement in Suffolk



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