Department S Actor Peter Wyngarde dies aged 90


Peter WyngardeImage copyright
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Peter Wyngarde died aged 90

The actor Peter Wyngarde has died aged 90, his agent has confirmed.

Wyngarde played dandy detective Jason King in the 1970s TV show of the same name – which was a partial inspiration for the Austin Powers films.

He had numerous of stage roles, as well as playing the gold-masked Klytus in Flash Gordon and Timanov in Doctor Who.

His agent and manger, Thomas Bowington, described him as “one of the most unique, original and creative actors” he had seen.

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Wyngarde starred as Timanov in Doctor Who: Planet of Fire

“As a man, there were few things in life he didn’t know.”

“I sometimes nicknamed him The King because he simply knew everything,” Bowington added.

Wyngarde started his career on stage, in a production on Noel Cowards’ Present Laughter at Birmingham’s Theatre Royal in 1947; and later starred opposite Richard Burton in the big-screen adaptation of Alexander the Great.

He guest-starred in a number of 1960s television shows including The Saint and The Avengers before debuting Jason King in the spy drama Department S.

The character proved so popular that Wyngarde got a spin-off series, which made him a household name in the US and Australia.

His heart-throb status once led to him being mobbed by 30,000 hysterical women at Sydney airport, and he even had his own fashion column in a daily newspaper.

King was his best-known character, a globe-trotting playboy with an astonishing array of outfits. And it wasn’t just his sartorial extravagance that inspired Mike Myers to create Austin Powers: King uttered the phrase “groovy, baby” in one episode.

Wyngarde died at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London after being unwell for a few months.

His agent said that, despite his age, the actor had roles and appearances lined up for the next few months.

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