Bill Treacher, who played Arthur Fowler in EastEnders, has died aged 92, his family said 

Bill Treacher, who became a household name during his 11-year stint as Arthur Fowler in EastEnders, has died aged 92, his family said.

In a statement, Mr Treacher’s Australian actress Katherine Kessey and two children Sophie and Jamie revealed that the retired actor’s health had been “deteriorating for some time”.

“Bill was a brilliant actor and a wonderful husband and father, plus a very fine person,” they said. “He will be greatly missed.”

Mr Treacher died Saturday night, his family said.

The veteran actor had happily retired to Suffolk for the past 18 years with Mrs Kessey.

In 2015, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with ataxia, a degenerative disease that impairs balance and the ability to walk. As a result of the condition, Mr. Treacher was dependent on a wheelchair and had retired from acting.

The 92-year-old was the first actor to be cast in EastEnders, appearing in the pilot episode in February 1985. He played the role for 11 years, making him the eighth longest-serving actor in the program’s history.

In a statement, Mr Treacher's family (center left with his wife and children) revealed that the retired actor's health had been

In a statement, Mr Treacher’s family (center left with his wife and children) revealed that the retired actor’s health had been “deteriorating for some time.”

The 92-year-old was the first actor to be cast in EastEnders, appearing in the pilot episode in February 1985. He played the role for 11 years, making him the eighth longest-serving actor in the program’s history. Pictured: The original EastEnders cast on set in 1984 (Mr Treacher is pictured third from right)

Mr Treacher starred alongside Wendy Richard as husband and wife from the very first episode of EastEnders (pictured together)

The 92-year-old was one of the first actors to be cast in EastEnders, appearing in the first episode, in February 1985.

After retiring from the role in 1996, Mr. Treacher said, “By the time I was done, I even felt sick of the theme music.”

He received widespread acclaim for his performance portraying the decline in his character’s mental health “at a time when mental health issues were not really discussed.”

But he said the grueling schedule and long work hours were negatively impacting his health, and doctors warned that if he stopped relaxing, he would die.

After his character was killed, he appeared in The Musketeer, Tale Of The Mummy and George And The Dragon.

An EastEnders spokesperson said: ‘It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Bill Treacher. As one of our original cast members, Bill created a much-loved character in Arthur Fowler and along with Wendy Richard, they created an iconic family in the Fowlers that are still central to the show.

Bill left EastEnders in 1996, so it’s a true testament to both he and the character he created in Arthur that he is still so fondly remembered. Bill will always be remembered for his charm, sense of humor – with a smile that lit up the room – and more importantly as a family man who was devoted to his wife and children.

“Bill will forever be held in great affection by everyone at EastEnders and everyone who loved to watch him.”

When he left EastEnders in 1996, Mr. Treacher (pictured left in a 1994 episode) famously said, ‘By the time I was done, even the theme music was making me sick’

The 92-year-old (pictured center) was one of the first actors to be cast in EastEnders, appearing in the first episode, in February 1985. Pictured on set with his on-screen wife and daughter in 1986

An EastEnders spokesperson said: ‘It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Bill Treacher. As one of our original cast members, Bill created a much-loved character in Arthur Fowler and together with Wendy Richard they created an iconic family in the Fowlers that are still central to the show.

He was married to the Australian actress’s wife, Katherine Kessey (pictured together at their wedding), and the couple lived through their retirement in Suffolk.

Letitia Dean, another original cast member who played Sharon Watts, said: ‘Bill was truly the life and soul of the set, he was an absolute joy to be around and always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. his eyes.

“As an actor, Bill was meticulous and did everything he could to portray Arthur, from the tiniest scenes to the heartbreaking stories.

Bill was a complete professional, a great man and he will be greatly missed. I send all my love to his family.’

Another colleague, Adam Woodyatt, said that Mr. Treacher would “get this twinkle in his eye” if he got into mischief.

“You started laughing and he was never blamed. I always loved it when he tried to remember his lines during rehearsal and he blundered and blundered until the right word came out,” he said.

Todd Carty, who played Mr. Treacher’s eldest son on the program, said: ‘I am so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing, it was a pleasure working with him. He was not only a great actor, but also a kind and sincere man.

“My thoughts are with his family at the moment. He will be sorely missed, I will never forget him. May he rest in peace.’

Pictured: Bill Treacher

An EastEnders spokesperson said: ‘Bill will forever be held in great affection by everyone at EastEnders and everyone who loved watching him’

Chris Clenshaw, an executive producer on the show, said: “Like so many, I grew up watching EastEnders with the beloved Arthur Fowler on his allotment, one of Walford’s originals that can still be described as a true heart of the square.

“To this day, Arthur Fowler is still so fondly remembered by the public and it is thanks to the character Bill created and the reason why the Fowler name is still very much alive in Albert Square, as well as the great memories of those who have worked with Bill. We send all our love and thoughts to Bill’s wife and family.”

Gillian Taylforth, who played Kathy Beale on the soap during Mr Treacher’s tenure, said: ‘I have so many happy memories of Bill, in fact we just shared stories about him at work recently, how he always had a sparkle in his eyes, usually before making us laugh mischievously during scenes.

“Bill was a wonderful, wonderful man who will be truly missed and I send all our love to his wife Kate and his family.”

This is a story in development. More to come.

He was married to the Australian actress’s wife, Katherine Kessey (pictured together), and the couple lived through their retirement in Suffolk.