Stephen Lewis, who played Blakey in the British comedy On the Buses, died this week in a nursing home near Wanstead, East London. Stephen Lewis was 88-years-old.
BBC reports that Stephen’s family confirmed to the media that Mr. Lewis had a “peaceful” end among his family members, including his sister, who was at the nursing home along with him. Fans worldwide who loved the spritied Blakey are mourning Stephen Lewis.
According to the niece of Mr. Lewis, Stephen was “in high spirits” even up to his death. A man who loved to entertain, he was “always singing and joking.” Stephen also loved to make the nursing home staff by quoting his famous lines from On The Buses.
Staff at Stephen’s nursing home shared memories of Mr. Lewis with BBC News. They mentioned that despite his age, Stephen “was still quite funny. He still had his sense of humor.” Mr. Lewis loved to entertain his family and staff by repeating his famous lines from On the Buses, “I’ll get you for this Butler” and “Get these buses out Butler.” Peter Lewis, nephew of Stephen Lewis, told BBC that he will remember his uncle as “a funny man.”
The death of Stephen Lewis, although sad, was not unexpected by his family since Mr. Lewis had been in the nursing home for the last three years. His sister was also in the nursing home, and family members said Mr. Lewis and his sister “looked after each other” during their old age.
The Lewis family also made the obituary announcement via Twitter, according to The Mirror, writing “Sadly my uncle ‘Blakey’ Stephen Lewis passed away yesterday. Very sad time for family,” and sharing a photo of the beloved On The Buses actor.
According to BBC, born in Poplar in East London, Mr. Lewis had a long career as an actor and was beloved by his country for his comedy. In addition to his box office smash hit On the Buses, in which Mr. Lewis starred as Inspector Cyril “Blakey” Blake, “the arch enemy of conductors played by Reg Varney and Bob Grant,” reports the Mirror, Mr. Lewis also starred in other cherished classic films. On The Buses, his signature film, proved to be so popular, however, that it outperformed the classic James Bond hit Diamonds Are Forever.
“I hate you, Butler,” which Stephen said throughout On The Buses as a running joke, became a catch phrase Mr. Lewis would be best known by. Mr. Lewis was also beloved for playing Clem “Smiler” Hemmingway in Last of Summer Wine, which is the longest-running British sitcom. According to the Mirror, Stephen also played Harry Lambert in the BBC’s Oh, Doctor Beeching!
As he aged, despite his cheery demeanor, Mr. Lewis began suffering health issues. Peter Lewis, who is the nephew of Stephen Lewis, told reporters that Stephen “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.” Stephen Lewis will be remembered best, however, as the funny man who played “Blakey.”
[Image from Wikimedia]