In Brief

Five things you didn't know about Minder star George Cole

Tributes are paid to the 90-year-old character actor who has died in hospital after a short illness

George Cole, the actor best remembered as Cockney wheeler-dealer Arthur Daley, has died in hospital at the age of 90, following a short illness. His stage and screen career spanned eight decades from the 1940s to this year's still-unreleased Road Rage.

Cole was born in 1925 in Morden, south London, and left school to become a butcher's boy at the age of 14. Instead he won a part in a touring musical and, not long afterwards, his first film role in 1944's Cottage To Let.In the 1950s, Cole was made famous by the St Trinian's films, in which he played a spiv with a passing resemblance to Daley. The BBC says he played 'Arfur' on TV for 16 years, between 1979 and 1994. Cole was given an OBE in 1992.

Here are five things you may not have known about George Cole:

Cole acted with Olivier twice before he was 19.

Laurence Olivier and George Cole first worked together in 1943's The Demi-Paradise, though Cole's part was not big enough for a credit. They then appeared together in Olivier's 1944 classic Henry V. Cole had a small speaking part with no name - 'Boy' - but he did get a mention in the credits this time.

Cole lived for many years with Alistair Sim.

Cole believed he owed his career to another much-loved British character actor, Alastair Sim. The Guardian says the Edinburgh-born star took Cole in at the age of 14, giving him a roof over his head for 13 years - and a "second mother" in his wife, Naomi. He also found him work. Sim memorably dragged-up to play the headmistress in the St Trinian's films, which starred Cole.

Arthur Daley's catchphrase cost Cole £25.

'Arfur' was known for talking about 'Er Indoors but his most memorable malapropism was: "The world is your lobster." The line came from Cole's son, who overheard it in a pub, the Daily Telegraph says. When he told his father about it at a family dinner, Cole senior immediately opened his wallet, took out £25 and gave it to his son, saying: "That's mine!"

Minder was one of TV's biggest shows.

ITV's Minder - with its memorable theme tune sung by Cole's co-star Dennis Waterman - was one of the biggest TV shows of its decade, says the Telegraph. It enjoyed around 17.5m viewers per episode at its height. Cole played the dodgy dealer for 107 episodes, before quitting to spend more time with his wife, Penny.

Even at the age of 90, Cole was still working.

George Cole plays the part of Cyril in the upcoming horror thriller Road Rage, reports the Daily Mirror. Director Stephen Hawken was "mortified" to have to call Cole and tell him the film's release had been delayed earlier this year. The nonagenarian replied: "Please get a move on - I would like to make another movie before I die."

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