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Robert Andrew Wass
25 November 1945
|Died||25 September 2017 (aged 71)|
(m. 1986; died 2013)
Robert Andrew Wass (25 November 1945 – 25 September 2017), known professionally as Bobby Knutt, was an English actor and comedian. He was known throughout his acting career for appearing as Albert Dingle in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale and in his final years for portraying the role of Eddie Dawson in the ITV sitcom Benidorm. Prior to making his name in British television, he had appeared in another ITV soap opera, Coronation Street, from 1980 to 1983 portraying the role of Ron Sykes.
He was married to athlete Donna Hartley from 1986 until her death in 2013. He died on 25 September 2017, while holidaying in Southern France. His last appearance was in the tenth series of Benidorm; his character left the programme at the end of that series.
Knutt was born in Sheffield. After passing the eleven-plus in 1957, he attended Abbeydale Grammar School in Sheffield. Still at school, he began to perform as a singer in a group called Bob Andrews and the Questors in 1961, switching to another group, the Whirlwinds, in 1963, and in 1964 formed a comedy double act called Pee & Knutt. However, his partner Geoff Morton refused to turn professional.
In 1965 under the stage name of Bobby Knutt he went solo, performing as one of the youngest pro comedians in the country.
He was first known nationally for his performances on the Granada Television show The Comedians and The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. He was cast in the lead role in the BBC's The Price of Coal (1977) directed by Ken Loach, allowing him to move beyond stand-up comedy. He acted in many British television comedies and dramas including Last of the Summer Wine, Heartbeat, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, All Creatures Great & Small and Our Friends in the North.
He had regular roles in 14 pantomimes at Sheffield's Crucible and Lyceum theatres. In 2008, he published his autobiography Eyup Knutty followed by the sequel Eyup Again in 2010. He worked as a comedian on cruise ships and provided the voice of "Gaffer" on Tetley Tea Folk TV ads. In 2012, a shoulder operation went wrong, disabling his right arm thus depriving him of his ability to play guitar which was a regular finale to his cabaret act on the cruise ships. Due to this he reluctantly retired from live entertainment but continued in acting.
Knutt was married to athlete Donna Hartley-Wass, a bronze medallist track-runner in the 1980 Olympic Games (4 × 400 m relay), from 20 January 1986 until her death in 2013. On his 25th wedding anniversary he was quoted as saying: "I wish I'd married my third wife first".
On 25 September 2017, while still on holiday in the south of France, Knutt suffered a major heart attack and was rushed to hospital. He later died at the age of 71.
- Sean Morrison (25 September 2017). "Benidorm and Emmerdale star Bobby Knutt dies aged 71". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
- Benidorm star Bobby Knutt snubs his children in £350,000 will
- "Bobby Knutt: Benidorm and Emmerdale actor dies on holiday". BBC News. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
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