Rik Mayall, who played the pompous, poetry-spouting anarchist Rick on the early Eighties U.K. cult comedy The Young Ones, has died, according to a statement his manager shared with the BBC. He was 56. The cause and circumstances of Mayall’s death have not yet been revealed.
In addition to The Young Ones, Mayall appeared on the U.K. sitcoms Blackadder, The New Statesman and a show with his Young Ones costar Adrian Edmondson, Bottom. His best-known movie role was playing opposite Phoebe Cates in the 1991 comedy Drop Dead Fred, in which he played an imaginary childhood friend of Cates’ character named “Drop Dead Fred.” He also had roles in the 1981 movie An American Werewolf in London, that same year’s sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment, and the 1999 comedy, Guest House Paradiso, which he co-wrote with Edmondson.
Mayall came to prominence while performing at the Comic Strip Club alongside Edmondson as 20th Century Coyote. That later led to the U.K. series The Comic Strip Presents, as well as paving the way for The Young Ones. While on Blackadder, which starred Mr. Bean actor Rowan Atkinson, he was known for catchphrases like “woof!” and “let’s do-oo-oo it!”
In 1998, a quad bike accident left him in a coma for several days, after which he was seriously ill.
Mayall’s management company, Brunskill, issued the following statement on June 9th: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Rik Mayall who passed away this morning. We will be issuing a further statement in the fullness of time.”