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Purley-born Emmerdale 'landlord' dies aged 81

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A PURLEY-BORN actor who starred as Emmerdale's longest-running character has died at the age of 81.

Richard Thorp was famous for his role as Alan Turner, the landlord of the programme's pub, The Woolpack.

His career began with the 1948 film Melody in the Dark.

He then secured a breakthrough role in 1955, playing Squadron Leader Henry Maudslay in The Dam Busters, a part reportedly given to him because of his physical similarity to the real Maudslay.

The actor then played Dr John Rennie in the ITV soap, Emergency Ward 10, which he joined in 1957 and left 10 years later.

He joined Emmerdale in 1982 as a 50-year-old boozing his way through wives and mistresses, until he settled down to become the pub's landlord.

In his most dramatic storyline, his on-screen daughter tried to kill him by pushing him down the stairs in order to get her inheritance.

Although he continued to work, Mr Thorpe suffered a serious heart attack in 1994 and was then diagnosed with leukaemia. He broke from Emmerdale briefly in 2009 to undergo knee replacement surgery.

The soap star was married and divorced three times and was once engaged to Babs Beverley of the Beverley Sisters. He leaves behind two sons and two daughters.

Purley-born Emmerdale 'landlord' dies aged 81


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