|Dermot Morgan, famous for playing loveable rogue Father Ted, died aged 45 after collapsing at the home in Richmond he shared with his partner, Fiona. The actor had three sons. |
Father Ted, the Bilko of the black cassock, was one of the funniest and best-loved comedy heroes of the 90's. Avowed atheist Morgan had just completed his third series of the madcap Irish sitcom.
His death came after the silver-haired comedian revealed plans to quit the show because he did not want to become type-cast.
The Father Ted series turned Dermot Morgan into a sex symbol and was voted Best Comedy at the Bafta Awards.
The show - centred around a group of eccentric priests living on the remote Craggy Island - won Best Sitcom for two years running at the British Comedy Awards, and was one of Channel 4's most popular programmes.
Weeks before his death Morgan (left) said: "After three series playing this priest, I want to get out of the dog collar.
"I don't want to be the next Clive Dunn and end up playing the same character for years."
Morgan had written a new TV drama series which was in the process of being made. The quick-witted Irishman had spent years before he landed the sitcom role treading the boards as a stand-up comedian
The third series due to hit the screens on March 6 is billed as the funniest yet.
But despite finding fame and fortune as the dry-witted priest with the cheeky smile, Morgan had been publicly critical of the church.
He was recently quoted as saying: "I don't believe in confessional, any of it. Bit organisations are bad news."Fascists are people who dress in black and tell you what to do and priests, well, er ..."