Michael Angelis, who was best known for narrating the beloved Thomas the Tank Engine TV adaptation, has sadly died at 68.
The actor’s agent confirmed Angelis died ‘suddenly’ at his home on Saturday 30 May.
His agent told LADbible: “Michael Angelis died yesterday of a heart attack which was very sudden. He was at home with his wife and he had no warning.”
Angelis was born in Liverpool in 1952, and first appeared on screen in the 1970s in shows including Z Cars, Thirty-Minute Theatre and Coronation Street.
As well as being the long-running narrator to Thomas and Friends between 1991 and 2012, having taken over from Ringo Starr, Angelis featured in comedies such as The Liver Birds and Luv, and TV dramas Boys From The Blackstuff and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and also made appearances in Casualty, The Bill, Holby City and Heartbeat.
Angelis was married to Coronation Street star Helen Worth from 1991 until their divorce in 2001. His second marriage was to Welsh model Jennifer Khalastchi, who he wed later that year.
Tributes have come flooding in for the late star, including from British comic Matt Lucas, who referred to Angelis as ‘one of the greatest TV actors’ he’s ever seen.
Michael Angelis was one of the greatest TV actors I've ever seen. His work with Alan Bleasdale was tremendous. What a loss.
— realmattlucas (@RealMattLucas) May 30, 2020
Simon Blackwell, who wrote political satire The Thick Of It, said: Sad to hear that the great Michael Angelis has died. Exquisite and moving in Boys From The Blackstuff, enormously funny as Lucien in The Liver Birds.”
Fans also took to social media to honour the late actor, with one fan tweeting: “It breaks my heart to hear that the legendary Michael Angelis has passed away.
“However his legacy will live on within the hearts of many Thomas fans. He shaped so many peoples childhoods and gave people so many laughs. Godspeed Michael. Rest In Peace.”
Thomas the Tank Engine narrator Michael Angelis dies at 68.
Thanks for being part of my childhood. pic.twitter.com/wQC6xaSAqM
— Darren (@EastieOaks) May 31, 2020
Another thanked Angelis for being part of his childhood, while someone else said: “Sad to wake up to the news of the passing of #MichaelAngelis.
The voice of a generation with Thomas the Tank Engine. Powerful as Chrissy Todd in Blackstuff and for those with a really good memory. Lucien in The Liver Birds who just loved his rabbits.”
Rest in peace.