Bodger & Badger creator and actor Andy Cunningham has died aged 67 following a battle with cancer.
His sister, Tessa Cunningham, confirmed he died at Royal Sussex County Hospital on Monday, told the Press Association: ‘Andy lived to be loved and to make people laugh – starting with me, his little sister.
‘He had a quicksilver brain, a rebellious attitude, boundless compassion particularly for the underdog, unstinting levels of generosity and, of course, a passion for mashed potato.
‘I adored him and, long before he found fame, was immensely proud to have the funniest, cleverest big brother in the universe.’
Cunningham, who was also a magician, played handyman Simon Bodger in the 90s kids’ TV show, which focused on his antics with Badger, his beret-wearing furry friend who loved mashed potato.
Andy also voice Badger in the hit TV show, which ran for nine series from 1989 to 1999 on BBC One.
Fans will also know him as Ephant Mon, Jabbe the Hut’s bodyguard in Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi. He worked as a puppeteer on the film.
Born on May 13 1950, Cunningham read English at Cambridge University before finding fame on children’s television.
While he was writing and directing shows for the Covent Garden Community Theatre Group, he gave comedian Julian Clary his first job.
His friend, comedian Charmian Hughes, paid tribute on Facebook, writing: ‘So sad to hear Andy Cunningham has died.
‘I first met him doing his magic show when I was being a terrible clown at the same event and we were near neighbours in Islington.
‘I last saw him at the Brighton fringe about three years ago and he was very mischievous in my audience. Actually, he was my audience. RIP sweet man.’
And ventriloquist Andy Williams added: ‘Thanks for the laughs Sir. Tonight I shall have Mash Potato.’