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John Cleese pays tribute to 'wonderful' Fawlty Towers co-star Andrew Sachs

John Cleese has paid tribute to his "wonderful" former co-star, Andrew Sachs, following the actor's death at the age of 86.

Sachs was best known for playing Manuel, the hapless Spanish waiter, in 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers.

Speaking to ITV News via Skype, Cleese - who played Basil Fawlty in the comedy series - praised Sachs as "a lovely warm, quite, gentleman... and wonderful, a wonderful person".

Sachs was reportedly buried on Thursday after a four-year battle with vascular dementia.

Andrews Sachs with his Fawlty Towers cast members Prunella Scales, John Cleese and Connie Booth. Credit: PA

Cleese recalled the first time he met Sachs, when he saw him in the play Habeas Corpus and said his performance made him "laugh immoderately... and I thought 'this guy is wonderful'".

Cleese described Sachs as not at all like Manuel, instead recalling how he was "quiet and humerous" and "rather like an academic or a retired banker", but "good fun, with a slightly wicked sense of humour, and tremendously easy to get on with".

The 77-year-old revealed that he first learnt of Sachs' illness two years ago at a party for his 75th birthday, when Sachs' wife, Melody, told him of the illness.

On Thursday Cleese paid tribute to Sachs on Twitter, describing him as "a very sweet, gentle and kind man" adding that he had "no idea" Andrew's life had been in danger.

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Andrew Sachs and his wife Melody. Credit: PA
Andrew Sachs was best known for playing the hapless Spanish waiter Manuel. Credit: PA