Sad to hear that comic character actor Howard Lew Lewis passed away last week at the age of 76.
He was a regular fixture on our screens in the '80s and '90s and a particular favourite for kids like me; playing rather dopey, slobby characters like Rabies in Tony Robinson's classic children's sitcom Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, Blag in Chelmsford 123 and, perhaps most memorably of all, Elmo Putney in Brush Strokes (pictured below with co-star Erika Hoffman)
He also effectively reprised his role as a merry man for Hollywood popcorn epic Robin Hood: Price of Thieves alongside Kevin Costner, and provided the voice of Obelix alongside Craig Charles' Asterix in 1994's Asterix in America. Prior to taking up acting, Lewis was a computer operator in the RAF and continued a career in telecommunications at management level.
Unfortunately, Lewis was suffering from ill health such as diabetes and dementia in recent years and had been confined to a community hospital in Edinburgh, sadly against his wishes, when he passed away. It was reported at the weekend that his daughter, Debbie Milazzo had lodged a complaint regarding her father's treatment and the circumstances surrounding his death which Police Scotland have confirmed they will investigate. Ms Milazzo claims that Lewis had been placed on a regime of high-dose sedatives and maximum-strength opiate painkillers that would normally be prescribed for the terminal phases of a particularly malignant disease. She claims that, as her father was not in such a phase, this was an unnecessary treatment plan and the decision to place him on it is suspicious.
It's a sad end for a man who brought so many laughter.