British actor Richard Briers, famed
for his role in television comedy The Good Life and a
stalwart in the films of Kenneth Branagh, has died at the age
of 79, his agent said on Monday.
Briers had been battling the serious lung condition
emphysema after years of smoking and died "peacefully" at his
home in London on Sunday, the agent said.
The actor began his career in the theatre but won
national fame in Britain in the 1970s for his role as Tom Good
in The Good Life, a man who gives up his job at a plastics
company to try his hand at self-sufficiency with his
long-suffering wife Barbara, played by Felicity Kendal.
The show also aired in the US where it was retitled Good
Briers went on to star in the popular British sitcom
Ever Decreasing Circles.
In later life he took on more film work and appeared in
nine of British actor-director Branagh's films, particularly
in Shakespearean roles, including in Henry V, Much Ado
About Nothing and Hamlet.
Briers blamed smoking for his illness, in an interview
published on January 31.
"The ciggies got me. I stopped 10 years ago, but too
late," he told the Daily Mail newspaper.
"If you do it in your 30s, you're OK, but after 30 it
gets you. I was diagnosed five years ago and didn't think it
would go quite as badly as it has."