Scriptwriter Alan Simpson, famous for hits including Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe And Son, has died at the age of 87 after a long battle with lung disease, his manager has said.
Simpson was famous for his writing partnership with Ray Galton.
His manager Tessa Le Bars said: “Having had the privilege of working with Alan and Ray for over 50 years, the last 40 as agent, business manager and friend, and latterly as Alan’s companion and carer, I am deeply saddened to lose Alan after a brave battle with lung disease.”
Galton and Simpson met at Milford Sanatorium when they were both diagnosed with tuberculosis as teenagers.
Galton and his family paid tribute in a joint statement, saying: “There are no words to express our sense of loss and sadness at the passing of Alan Simpson, Ray’s partner and family friend over the last 70 years.
Alan Simpson - of Galton and Simpson - has died. Total legend. pic.twitter.com/2q2UcxeVHL— ukclassictelly (@ukclassictv) February 8, 2017
“From their first attempts at humour in Milford sanatorium, through a lifetime of work together, the strength of Alan and Ray’s personal and professional bond was always at the heart of their success. We respectfully request there are no attempts to contact the Galton family home at this time.”
As well as their acclaimed work with Tony Hancock and Steptoe actors Harry H Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell, Simpson and Galton also wrote TV, film and stage scripts for the likes of Frankie Howerd, Peter Sellers, Leonard Rossiter, Arthur Lowe and Les Dawson.