Celebrity News

Actor John Challis dies aged 79 after cancer battle


Actor John Challis, known for his role as Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, has passed away after battling cancer. He was 79.

Challis’ family shared the news in a statement on social media.

“It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news,” the statement began.

“Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.”

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“He will always be loved for being ‘Boycie’ and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come,” the statement continued.

“Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John’s life — when everyone will be welcome to come along.”

The family concluded the statement by confirming that donations in Challis’ memory can be made to his chosen animal charities, which include Cuan Wildlife Rescur, Tusk and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

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John Challis
Actors John Challis (left) and Kenneth MacDonald in a pub scene for Only Fools and Horses. (Getty)

Challis was best known for his role as Terrance ‘Boycie’ Boyce in sitcom Only Fools and Horses. He also worked on the Only Fools spin-off The Green Green Grass and Benidorm.

Starting a career in television in 1967, Challis starred in The Newcomers and Z-Cars, with appearances in Coronation Street, The Sweeney, Doctor Who, Open All Hours and countless other boons of television.

Challis’ most recent films were Dreams and Subterrain in 2001.

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John Challis
John Challis in 2019. (LightRocket via Getty Images)

Challis was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, and last month, it was announced that due to his ill health, Challis had to cancel several of his tour dates.

After news of his passing broke, stars rushed to pay tribute to Challis.

English actress Sue Holderness, who played Challis’ on-screen wife Marlene in Only Fools and Horses, tweeted her sympathies.

“Marlene without Boycie-it’s unthinkable,” Holderness wrote.

“John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day.”

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