Actor Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street for 30 years, has passed away at the age of 85.
Cause Of Death
His family said he died peacefully after “a long illness, with the family next to him” and asked for asked for privacy to “remember the wonderful times we had with him”.
Briggs was awarded the MBE in New Year’s Celebrations and honour in 2006, the year his character was killed from ITV soap.
He has also appeared on stage and in films starring alongside Norman Wisdom and other famous characters.
Born on September 5, 1935 in Battersea, southwest London, Briggs was evacuated to the countryside during World War II before embarking on a career in show business back in London at the age of 12.
After a two-year hiatus working in Germany with the Royal Tank Regiment, starting in 1953, he resumed his acting career in several films in Carry On and in the ITV police drama No Hiding Place.
It was not until 1976 that he found his position to be described as Mike Baldwin.
As the uncompromising businessman in the soap he feuded with Ken Barlow after having an affair with his wife Deirdre.
Later, Baldwin will die at the hands of his rival after suffering a heart attack, finally killing the character after thirty years.
The father-of-six joined Coronation Street in 1976 and appeared in 2,349 episodes of the ITV soap.
Mr Briggs left the show in 2006 after his character Mike was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and died outside the factory following a fatal heart attack.
Following his departure from the show, the actor was made an MBE in the 2006 New Year’s Honours.
Mr Briggs also appeared on stage and in films, alongside the likes of Norman Wisdom, Dirk Bogarde and Tommy Steele.
The demise of Baldwin drew 12 million viewers and followed the character’s battle with Alzheimer’s – leading the actor to back a fundraising appeal to help those affected by the disease.
Briggs won the British Soap Award for lifetime achievement in 2006.
In 1995 Briggs had a UK chart hit, alongside Coronation Street co-star Amanda Barrie, with a version of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s Something Stupid.
Tributes have been paid to the actor with Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton saying “we all adored him”, while former soap writer Phil Ford tweeted it was “very very sad” to hear of his death.
Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt on the cobbles, said he was “one of the street’s most memorable characters”.
John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama at ITV, said Briggs had been “right at the centre of the show” for years adding: “When Mike Baldwin was in a scene it was very hard to look at anyone else.”