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GRUMPY FRED IS DEAD; Glum Corrie barman loses cancer battle.

FORMER Corrie star Fred Feast has lost his fight against cancer.

The 69-year-old actor played grumpy, hapless barman Fred Gee in the Street for 13 years.

He left in 1984 but his character was only recently written out for good when his screen widow Eunice returned to the soap.

Fred left Coronation Street because he felt the pressure of work had become too much.

In 1990 he had a cancerous growth removed from his neck and recovered after treatment.

Last summer he enjoyed a second burst of popularity when his episodes were repeated on cable TV.

He also appeared in the Emmy award-winning film Little Voice as pigeon fancier Arthur, alongside Michael Caine.

In his book on the Street, the late producer Bill Podmore said Fred was not always popular off set.

He said: "Fred enjoyed some rather vulgar habits, which didn't go down well with the more serene, mature ladies of the Street.

"He wasn't averse to burping in a highly-audible fashion, nor disinclined to breaking wind in every direction."

Fred also had real problems remembering his lines and in many scenes was seen leaning against the Rovers bar reading The Sporting Life, where he'd secretly scribbled them down.

However, on one occasion, he was left fuming when Jean Alexander, who played cleaner Hilda Ogden, switched the papers as a joke.

After leaving the show Fred stayed close to some members of the cast, particularly Liz Dawn, who plays Vera Duckworth.

Liz said yesterday: "I visited him in hospital a while ago and wanted to visit him again but unfortunately he was not well enough to meet up with me. It's very sad."

Meg Johnson, who plays Fred's wife Eunice, added: "He was a joy to work with, the scenes we did were hilarious. It is terribly sad that he is no longer with us."

Fred leaves behind Kath, his wife of 44 years, two daughters and two granddaughters.

His funeral service and cremation will take place on Thursday in his hometown of Scarborough, Yorkshire.
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Author:Mulford, Sarah
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 29, 1999
Words:336
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