Blake’s 7 star Paul Darrow has died at the age of 78 following a short illness, a spokeswoman for JACKfm has said.
The Surrey-born actor was best known for playing Avon in the 70s and 80s BBC sci-fi series Blake’s 7, but also appeared in more than 200 other shows including Doctor Who, The Saint, Z Cars, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain.
Maureen Marrs, his long-time companion and PA, said: “Over three decades I have been Paul’s confidante and have had the immense privilege of being part of his life.
“A star has gone out today; the world will be a darker place without him.”
Darrow also appeared on the stage, including four seasons at the Bristol Old Vic and London’s West End, and was the voice of JACKfm and Union JACK radio.
Ian Walker, CEO of the JACK brand, said: “Paul Darrow has been JACK’s shining star.
“Over the past 12 years I have had the pleasure of spending countless hours with Paul listening to his life stories and have shared many bottles of his favourite Bordeaux, whilst enjoying his quirky jokes and sense of humour.
“When we first launched JACK in the UK, we cast over 85 voices for the role and we could not have asked for anyone more unique. Paul’s rich tones and flippant delivery style always brought a smile to everyone who knew him and of course heard him on JACKfm and Union JACK radio.
“I could not have asked for a better friend.”
Tim Parker, programme director at JACKfm, said: “What an amazing, colourful character Paul was.
“He has mixed with the greats over the last 50 years and had a story to tell you for every occasion. His voice acting skills were like no other.
“He had the ability to take our written JACK lines and deliver them in his own, unique style loaded with his own personality. This was always better than we ever imagined.
“What a sad loss to the team here at JACK. We will remember and celebrate his character, personality and amazing skills for years to come.”
Born in Surrey in 1941, Darrow went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School before studying at Rada, where he shared a flat with fellow actors Ian McShane and John Hurt.
He married actress Janet Lees-Price after they co-starred on ITV show Emergency Ward 10 and they were together for 48 years before her death in 2012.
The spokeswoman said Darrow “was a man who had a story for every situation”.
“He had dinner with Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman at Chatsworth House, and Liberace famously asked Paul to call him Lee,” she said.