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Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter dies of brain tumour at 54

Ritter, who also appeared in films including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, died at home alongside is wife and two sons

The actor Paul Ritter has died of a brain tumour at the age of 54, his agent has told the Guardian. Ritter who starred as the family patriarch Martin in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner alongside Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal died on Monday.

In a statement, his agent said that the actor, who also appeared in numerous films including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Quantum of Solace, died at home with his family by his side.

Robert Popper, the creator of the sitcom for which Ritter is best known, shared his thoughts saying: “Devastated at this terribly sad news. Paul was a lovely, wonderful human being. Kind, funny, super caring and the greatest actor I ever worked with.”

In 2019, Ritter displayed his range with a terrifying performance as Anatoly Dyatlov in the multi-award winning Chernobyl. Toby Whithouse, who wrote spy thriller The Game in which Ritter starred in 2014, said: “This is terrible devastating news. Paul was a stunning actor, a lovely lovely guy. How utterly dreadful.”

Ritter was also a talented stage actor, and was nominated for an Olivier award in 2006 for his performance in Coram Boy and for a Tony award for his 2009 starring role in the Norman Conquests.

“It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away last night,” said his agent. “He died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumour.

“Paul was an exceptionally talented actor playing an enormous variety of roles on stage and screen with extraordinary skill. He was fiercely intelligent, kind and very funny. We will miss him greatly.”

Ritter is due to appear in the Friday Night Dinner 10th anniversary retrospective, which will air on Channel 4 later this year.

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