Fawlty Towers star ‘did not recognise Manuel’

The son of Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs has told how his father’s dementia meant he could no longer recognise himself on the classic sitcom.

John Sachs told Sky News the final months of the actor’s life were “very hard”, describing dementia as a “terrible thing”.

Sachs, best known for his role as hapless waiter Manuel in the beloved 1970s comedy, died at the age of 86.

Video: ‘Kind and gentle’ Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies

His wife Melody said he had been diagnosed with vascular dementia four years ago.

His condition had rapidly deteriorated in the days before his death.

:: Tributes to Andrew Sachs

John Sachs said: “I will remember him with a smile – his work lives on.”

Describing the final months of his life, Mr Sachs said: “Those caring for him would try to make him feel comfortable, and playing Fawlty Towers tapes was one of the devices they used.”

But he said his father no longer recognised that he had played the Spanish waiter.

“It’s very upsetting,” he continued. “That just shows you how horrible this is – it’s a terrible thing.”

He said his mother had taken the burden of the illness, visiting the deteriorating actor twice a day.

“My heart has been broken every day for a long time,” Mrs Sachs told the Daily Mail. “It wasn’t until the very end that it got very bad. He couldn’t speak because he had vascular dementia.

“That means that you lose your speech but you don’t lose your mind.”

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