Tony Booth, Cherie Blair's father and Till Death Us Do Part star, dies aged 85

26 September 2017, 12:11

Actor and political campaigner Tony Booth, who starred in the sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, has died.

In a statement, the 85-year-old's family said he passed away with "close family members in attendance".

Booth was the father of Cherie Blair - and when his son-in-law Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997, the actor's political views proved to be an occasional thorn in his side.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2004 and had also suffered heart problems.

In Till Death Us Do Part in the 1960s, Booth became known to viewers as "Scouse git" Mike - the long-haired, left-wing son-in-law of right-wing cockney Alf Garnett.

Booth was the father of nine daughters, and he was married four times.

His third marriage was to Pat Phoenix, who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street. She died from cancer a week after their wedding in 1986.

He married his fourth wife Stephanie Buckley in 1998.

Cherie Booth was born in Lancashire in 1954 during his marriage to Gale Booth, but her father left his young family when she was five.

A political campaigner, Booth joined the Labour Party when he was 15, and in later years he did not hold back from criticising the government when Mr Blair was given the keys to Downing Street.

In 2000, he claimed Mr Blair had stuffed the House of Lords with "Tony's Cronies". Two years later, he controversially lifted the lid on life in Downing Street with his autobiography, What's Left?

Despite the political differences, Booth remained close to his daughter, and was with her and her husband at his constituency election count at the 2005 general election.

Born in Liverpool in 1931, Booth discovered a talent for acting during his national service.

As well as his role in Till Death Us Do Part, he spent a brief time on the cobbles in Coronation Street between 1960 and 1961, playing Malcolm Wilkinson.

His acting career enjoyed a revival in the 1990s, with roles in Holby City, The Bill and Mersey Beat.

In 1979, Booth almost burned himself to death in a fire at his flat, and he remained in hospital for months.

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