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August 07, 2013

Mel Smith, Influential British Comedy Performer, Writer, Director, Producer

In addition to his body of work as an actor, Smith was a prolific producer and directed several feature films.

Mel Smith, a writer, director, producer and performer known for his work on Not the Nine O'Clock News and other popular British television comedies, died July 19, 2013, at his home in London. He was 60.

According to reports, the cause was a heart attack.

In addition to his work as an actor, Smith was often busy behind the camera as well. He directed the film Bean, starring Rowan Atkinson as the hapless character known as Mr. Bean, and his company produced Da Ali G Show, the TV series that launched Sacha Baron Cohen.

Smith began working in television following his graduation from Oxford and got a major break in 1979 when he was hired Not the Nine O'Clock News, a send-up of traditional newscasts that inspired the HBO series Not Necessarily the News.

When the show ended after four years, he and costar Griff Rhys Jones went on to collaborate on the series Alas Smith and Jones and various other projects through their company, Talkback Productions.

Smith also had roles in the films The Princess Bride, European Vacation and Brain Donors, and he directed the feature films The Tall Guy, Radioland Murders and High Heels and Low Lifes.

Read more at:

The New York Times

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