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Andrew Sachs Poster

Biography

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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 7 April 1930Berlin, Germany
Date of Death 23 November 2016Denville Hall, Northwood, Hillingdon, London, England, UK  (vascular dementia)
Birth NameAndreas Siegfried Sachs
Nickname Andy
Height 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Andrew Sachs born Andreas Siegfried Sachs was born in Berlin, Germany, he and his family emigrated to London in 1938, to escape persecution under the Nazis. He made his name on British television and rose to fame in the 1970s for his portrayals of the comical Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers (1975), a role for which he was BAFTA nominated.

He went on to have a long career in acting and voice-over work for television, film and radio. In his later years, he continued to have success with roles in films such as Quartet, and as Ramsay Clegg in Coronation Street.

Sachs was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Katharina (née Schrott-Fiecht), a librarian, and Hans Emil Sachs, an insurance broker. His father was Jewish and his mother was Catholic, and of half-Austrian descent. He left with his parents for Britain in 1938, when he was eight years old, to escape the Nazis. They settled in north London, and he lived in Kilburn for the rest of his life.

In 1960, Sachs married Melody Lang, who appeared in one episode of Fawlty Towers, "Basil the Rat", as Mrs. Taylor. He adopted her two sons from a previous marriage, John Sachs and William Sachs, and they had one daughter, Kate Sachs.

In the late 1950s, whilst still studying shipping management at college, Sachs worked on radio productions, including Private Dreams and Public Nightmares by Frederick Bradnum, an early experimental programme made by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Sachs began in acting with repertory theatre and made his West End debut as Grobchick in the 1958 production of the Whitehall farce Simple Spymen. He made his screen debut in 1959 in the film The Night We Dropped a Clanger. He then appeared in numerous television series throughout the 1960s, including some appearances in ITC productions such as The Saint (1962) and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969).

Sachs is best known for his role as Manuel, the Spanish waiter in the sitcom Fawlty Towers (1975 and 1979). During the shooting of the Fawlty Towers episode "The Germans", Sachs was left with second degree acid burns due to a fire stunt. He was hit with a faulty prop on the set of the show by John Cleese and suffered a massive headache.

Sachs recorded four singles in character as Manuel; the first was "Manuel's Good Food Guide" in 1977, which came in a picture sleeve with Manuel on the cover. Sachs also had a hand in writing (or adapting) the lyrics. This was followed in 1979 by "O Cheryl" with "Ode to England" on the B side. This was recorded under the name "Manuel and Los Por Favors". Sachs shares the writing credits for the B side with "B. Wade", who also wrote the A side.

In 1981, "Manuel" released a cover version of Joe Dolce's number one in the United Kingdom "Shaddap You Face", with "Waiter, there's a Flea in my Soup" on the B side. Sachs also adapted "Shaddap You Face" into Spanish, but was prevented from releasing it before Dolce's version by a court injunction. When finally released it reached 138 in the UK Chart.

In 2007, the BBC broadcast an adaptation of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency with Sachs portraying Reg (Professor Urban Chronotis, the Regius Professor of Chronology). He would later appear in another Adams adaptation as the Book in the live tour of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy during its run at Bromley's Churchill Theatre.

On 17 November 2008, it was announced that Sachs had been approached to appear in ITV soap Coronation Street. He later confirmed on 14 December that he was taking up the offer, saying, "I'm taking Street challenge". In May 2009 he made his debut on the street as Norris' brother, Ramsay. He appeared in 27 episodes and left in August 2009.

With the Australian pianist Victor Sangiorgio, he toured with a two man show called "Life after Fawlty", which included Richard Strauss's voice and piano setting of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "Enoch Arden". 2012 saw his last major role, as Bobby Swanson in the movie Quartet.

Sachs was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012, which eventually left him unable to speak and forced him to use a wheelchair. He died on 23 November 2016 at the Denville Hall nursing home in Northwood, London, England. He was buried on 1 December 2016, the same day his death was publicly announced.

On 2 December 2016, BBC One broadcast the Fawlty Towers episode "Communication Problems" in his memory. John Cleese led tributes to Sachs, describing him as a "sweet, sweet man"

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (1)

Melody Lang (1962 - 23 November 2016) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (12)

He is the son of Katharina (Schrott-Fiecht) and Hans Emil Sachs. His father was Jewish and his mother was Catholic, and of part Austrian descent. He escaped Nazi Germany as a boy - after his father, who had been arrested by the Nazis, was released just days before Kristallnacht.
There is a wax figure of him as "Manuel", from Fawlty Towers (1975), in Madam Tussaud's in London.
On the set of Fawlty Towers (1975), he was nearly knocked out with a heavy saucepan by John Cleese, when Sachs made an unexpected move during filming after five days of rehearsals. Sachs had a headache for two days.
He was paid damages by the BBC after an incident filming Fawlty Towers (1975), where a jacket was treated with acid by the special effects department to look as if it was on fire, and really did burn through to his skin. He bore the scars for the rest of his life.
He was the father of Kate Sachs and grandfather of her daughter Georgina Baillie. He was also the adopted father of his wife's sons from her previous marriage, William Sachs and John Sachs.
He recorded children's books on tape and classics like Charles Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, George Eliot etc.
He supported CIWF (Compassion In World Farming) and other animal charities.
Ex-father-in-law of Charles Baillie.
He auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art but only had enough money to attend two terms. He was hired as an assistant stage manager at a theater in East Sussex, and subsequently the Liverpool Playhouse and the Globe theatre in London.
His father, an insurance broker, was Jewish; his mother, a librarian, was Catholic of part-Austrian ancestry. His father was arrested by the Nazi authorities in 1938, but was later released after intervention by a friend in the police force. The family fled Germany, and settled in London.
Sachs was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012, which eventually left him unable to speak and forced him to use a wheelchair.
He turned down the role of Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave (1990), as the first few scripts hadn't impressed him. He later regretted that decision.

Personal Quotes (5)

I loved working with John Cleese, but there are many others and, if they are team workers, rather than behaving like "stars", I get on fine with practically all of my colleagues who are skillful and conscientious but not too serious.
I love travelling.
[on the return of Jonathan Ross to the BBC in 2009 following his suspension for leaving obscene messages with Russell Brand on his answerphone] His show is embarrassing, it is not an interview show, it's the Jonathan Ross show. A lot of people like the show but I don't, and I'm not alone. I will be watching the show out of curiosity to see what is what. His quickness of mind is worth retaining but with the good points go the bad ones maybe. It is extraordinary that a man of that experience allowed himself to be shown like that. It is just self restraint he has not got. I like listening to him, but I don't want to see him after Friday. Another apology is not necessary, he could apologise to the BBC or all of the other people embarrassed by his actions. There is a long list of people involved.
I was up to take over as Doctor Who (1963) but didn't get the part. Sylvester McCoy played it, but at that time they put my name forward for it. Shame, I'd love to have done it. You can be very self-indulgent and go mad and do all the wonderful things, but the script or the director should pull you back and say, 'Come on, stop fooling about, just stop acting, just do it, be in the spirit of the script'. I hope I would have done that, but I never got the chance. One of my sad tales of failure in life.
[on criticism that Manuel was a racist stereotype] If it's insulting to the Spanish what is Basil to the British?

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