British comic Rik Mayall of ‘The Young Ones’ and ‘Drop Dead Fred’ dies at 56


Actors Rik Mayall and Marsha Fitzalan pose as their comic 1980's TV characters Alan and Sarah B'Stard to launch the four-month UK tour of the stage adaptation of their satirical TV series ”The New Statesman.” Mr. Mayall died June 9 at 56. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Rik Mayall, one of a generation of performers who injected anarchic energy into British comedy on series such as “The Young Ones,” died June 9 at his home in London. He was 56.

Mr. Mayall’s management firm, Brunskill Management, confirmed the death.

The cause of death was not immediately disclosed. London’s Metropolitan Police Service said officers had been called to the house by the ambulance service but that the death was not thought to be suspicious.

In the 1980s, Mr. Mayall was part of the Comic Strip, a hugely influential group of young comics that included Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Mr. Mayall’s writing and performing partner, Adrian Edmondson.

He was best known for co-writing and performing in “The Young Ones,” a sitcom about slovenly students that was much loved by those it satirized.

On television, he memorably played Conservative politician Alan B’Stard in the sitcom “The New Statesman” and lecherous Lord Flashheart in the comedy “Blackadder.”

He and Edmondson also created and starred in “Bottom,” a violent slapstick series about two unemployed slobs.

Film appearances included the title role in the 1991 fantasy “Drop Dead Fred,” which gained him a devoted following in the United States, and the 1999 British comedy “Guest House Paradiso.”

Richard Michael Mayall was born March 7, 1958, in the village of Matching Tye, England. He grew up in Droitwich with parents who taught drama. He studied drama at the University of Manchester in the late 1970s.

In 1998, Mr. Mayall was on life support and in a coma for several days after an all-terrain-vehicle accident.

“The main difference between now and before my accident is I’m just very glad to be alive,” Mr. Mayall said last year. “Other people get moody in their 40s and 50s — men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just really happy.”

Survivors include his wife, the former Barbara Robbin, and three children.

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