It’s with deep sadness and no little shock that we must report that comedian, writer, actor, director and producer Mel Smith has died at the age of 60 following a heart attack.
Smith will likely be best remembered for his iconic comedy partnership with Griff Rhys Jones, appearances on shows such as Not The Nine O’Clock News and directing several comedy films including Bean.
Born and brought up in Chiswick, he attended New College, Oxford and then began a stint in theatre at the Royal Court and Bristol Old Vic. Initially, he was a director and producer, working behind the scenes, but had performed at the Edinburgh Festival while at university, and had met several of the Cambridge Footlights team.
From there sprang Not The Nine O’Clock News, followed by comedy collaborations with Bob Goody and his time with Rhys Jones. The latter pair also founded TalkBack Productions, which went on to become a comedy powerhouse, supporting the likes of Alan Partridge, Ali G and Smack The Pony.
As an actor, his film credits included The Tall Guy, Brain Donors, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Twelfth Night and The Princess Bride as The Albino.
More recently, he returned to theatre acting and even enjoyed a reunion with Rhys Jones. He’d struggled with his health in the past. He’s survived by his wife Pam and stepson James. He will be missed.