British actor best known as the lovable Spanish waiter Manuel on the BBC sitcom “Fawlty Towers”, has died aged 86.
TV viewers of the timeless 1970s classic split sides watching hapless Manuel from Barcelona. However, many do not know that the actor was born in Berlin (and not Barcelona!), escaping Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
Sachs, the youngest of three children, was born in Berlin in 1930 to a Jewish father and a Christian mother. He only realised he was ‘different from his classmates’ when his best friend told him that his parents had forbidden him from playing “with a half-Jew.”
In a 2014 interview, he told the Guardian, “My father was Jewish and didn’t talk much about Hitler but all my friends were Aryan and our teacher was fond of Hitler and would tell us to do what Hitler said: “He’s a wonderful man…” I had one friend who came up to me one day and he was a bit stumbling and said: “I’m not allowed to play with you, because my parents said that your father is Jewish.” That was the first moment where I realised something was wrong.
In September 1938 Andrew’s father was arrested, but a police official friendly with Andrew’s mother’s family saved him from going to a concentration camp. The father immediately left for London, where he obtained a job with an insurance firm. In December that same year, he brought over his family, including eight-year-old Andrew, and they settled in West Hampstead, London.
Fawlty Towers co-star, John Cleese, tweeted that he was very sad to learn of the death and called Sachs “a very sweet, gentle, and kind man and a truly great farceur”.
Sachs’ performance on Fawlty Towers was one of the most widely imitated comedy characters from that era, the BBC said. The actor also performed in
The performer was said to have battled vascular dementia for four years before his death at 86, at a care home and was buried on Thursday, according to reports.
Christians United for Israel – UK