Stephen Lewis Dead : British Actor Dies At 88

August 17, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Actor Stephen Lewis died at the age of 88, according to his nephew, Peter Lewis. Mr. Lewis, who hit stardom in the late 1960s with the series On the Buses, passed away very peacefully at a retirement home in his native England.

Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis is dead, according to a brief statement issued by his family members. On August 12, Mr. Lewis died at the age of 88 in his sleep at the Cambridge Nursing Home in Wanstead, east London.

The star’s nephew, Peter Lewis, revealed that he was suffering from arthritis, which made it difficult for him to use his knees and legs.

According to Peter Lewis, his uncle, who was famous for playing the role of Inspector Cyril “Blakey” Blake in the LWT sitcom On the Buses, was also battling prostate cancer.

However, despite the illness, the man, who once sported a Hitler-like mustache and screamed “I ’ate you Butler!” was very cheerful and found ingenious ways to make others at the nursing home laugh. Lewis shared:

“He had terrible arthritis in one knee which really badly affected him, and many years ago he had prostate cancer – and whether that had come back we don’t know.”

Peter Lewis went on to share that Stephen Lewis was at the nursing home with his sister, 84-year-old Connie Lewis, for three years and they kept each other company. Connie Lewis’ granddaughter, Barbara, said:

“He was always singing and joking. We just want people to remember him.”

Rashid Ebrahimkhan, the manager of Cambridge Nursing Home, went on to confirm that to the very end Stephen Lewis kept his sense of humor. Ebrahimkhan shared:

“He was still quite funny. He still had his sense of humor, very much so, like he was on On The Buses. He had the sense of humor until the last.”

According to his bio, Lewis was born at All Saints Maternity Hospital in Poplar, London and worked as a merchant seaman. However, after seeing a play at the Theatre Workshop, he auditioned and landed a role. In 1958, he made his West End debut in Brendan Behan’s The Hostage.

In 1969, fame knocked on Lewis’ door after landing the role of Blakey in the series On the Buses, which ran for 74 episodes. Lewis was more than an actor; he was also a writer, who penned 12 episodes with fellow star Bob Grant.

He later starred in the movies – On the Buses (1971), Mutiny on the Buses (1972), and Holiday on the Buses (1973). His other films include:

A Prize of Arms (1962), Negatives (1968), Staircase (1969) with Richard Burton and Rex Harrison, Some Will, Some Won’t (1969), The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971), The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977), Personal Services (1987), and The Krays (1990). He also appeared in two British sex comedies, Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1975) and Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate (1978). In 1988, he took on one of his longest-running roles, playing the ironically-named “Smiler” Hemingway in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.

“Smiler” Hemingway sporadically appeared on the show for 17 years before he retired from acting in 2007. Stephen Lewis’ funeral is set for August 25 at Our Lady Of Lourdes Church in Wanstead.

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    1. Amanda says:

      one of my favorites from my growing up years…I live in the US now, but the British style of comedy, at least the old style, is something no other country could duplicate…RIP Blakey you old bugger…


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