Much loved actor Richard Briers dies after 5 year battle with emphysemaRichard Briers, actor: born Merton,
London 14 January 1934; married 1957 Ann Davies (two daughters); died London 17 February 2013.
An adaptable actor, he was equally at ease in comedy and in Shakespeare, doing voiceover, on stage or on
television. But it was comedy that he saw as his "first gift", explaining in a later interview that, "I have played
straight drama, which I love, but I eventually miss doing comedy because we are in such miserable times. And I do
feel that my purpose in life is to cheer people up."
Richard Briers will always be remembered as the affable, charming and ever-optimistic Tom Good in the Seventies BBC
sitcom The Good Life. Playing opposite Felicity Kendal as his wife Barbara, they were the couple who tried to
become self-sufficient in suburbia, encouraged and supported by their friends and neighbours the Leadbetters (Paul
Eddington and Penelope Keith).
During the mid to late Eighties, it was in the role of Martin Bryce in Ever Decreasing Circles that Briers
delighted television audiences. He played a middle-aged man at the heart of his local community who imagines
himself in competition with his neighbour and rival, Paul, played by Peter Egan.
Briers was awarded an OBE in 1989 and a CBE in 2003 for services to drama.
He was diagnosed with lung disease in 2008, the result of smoking what he estimated as some 500,000
cigarettes during his lifetime.
"The ciggies got me - I stopped ten years ago, but too late. If you do it in your 30s, you're OK, but
after 30 it gets you. I was diagnosed five years ago and didn't think it would go quite as badly as it
has. It's a bugger, but there it is. I used to love smoking."
Richard Briers speaking in January, 2013
Interview with Richard Briers: