British actor Geoffrey Palmer, best known for his roles in the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and Paddington, has died. According to his agent, who confirmed his passing to the BBC, Palmer died peacefully at his home. He was 93. A cause of death was not given.
Born in London, Palmer served in the Royal Marines between 1946 and 1948 before kicking off his acting career with a number of TV roles, including on shows such as The Avengers and ITV's The Army Game. The Guardian reports that Palmer briefly took a stint on the stage, appearing in a number of productions including Laurence Olivier's imagining of JB Priestley's Eden End, before primarily returning to the small screen, where he landed a role as Lionel Hardcastle in As Time Goes By, which ran from 1992 to 2005, alongside Judi Dench, who starred as his former, and later current, lover.
"Oh my goodness, how we laughed – we did nine (seasons) of As Time Goes By and it is too numerous to mention how many times," Dench, calling Palmer a "master of comedy," said when paying tribute to the actor on BBC Radio 4's Front Row. "I used to stand there before each recording and think, 'How have I got myself into this?' I was always so frightened. but there was no need."
Palmer and Dench reunited in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, one of his many big screen credits. His other film credits include The Madness of King George, A Fish Called Wanda, Mrs. Brown, and Paddington. Palmer's TV credits also include Doctor Who, The Saint, Fawlty Towers, and Butterflies, among many others.
Following news of his death, many of those who had worked with Palmer throughout his decades-long career paid tribute to him, including Wendy Craig, his Butterflies co-star. Remembering Palmer, Craig said that "he was just a delight to work with, his timing was perfect" and that despite his "rather serious face," the actor was "full of fun" in person. Craig said that when Palmer “laughed and when he smiled his whole face lit up, his eyes twinkled. He was always up for a laugh and not a heavy-going serious person at all." Director Edgar Wright, who was among to pay tribute to Palmer, remembered Palmer as "brilliantly funny."
Palmer's last appearance is in the film An Unquiet Life, which is currently in post-production. He is survived by his wife, Sally Greene, and their two children, Charles and Harriet.