Comedy actor Windsor Davies, who starred in 1970s hit show It Ain't Half Hot Mum and appeared in New Zealand TV commercials, has died aged 88.

Davies played Sergeant Major Williams in the popular comedy show.

He also starred opposite Donald Sinden as Oliver Smallbridge in the long-running ITV sitcom Never The Twain about rival antiques dealers during the 1980s.

Davies, recognisable for his booming voice, also appeared alongside All Blacks coach Alex Wyllie in New Zealand advertisements for Mitre 10 hardware stores in the early 1990s.

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The TV legend died on Thursday at home in France, according to his family.

Davies appeared alongside All Blacks coach Alex Wyllie in New Zealand advertisements for Mitre 10 hardware stores in the 1990s.
Davies appeared alongside All Blacks coach Alex Wyllie in New Zealand advertisements for Mitre 10 hardware stores in the 1990s.

Windsor's wife Eluned died in September.

The couple moved to France after Davies retired from acting in his 70s.

His daughter Jane Davies said: 'The actor Windsor Davies died peacefully on 17 January 2019.

'His wife of 62 years, Eluned, passed away in September.

'They leave a large and very close family who will all remember them with love, laughter and gratitude.'

Davies starred in the hit TV show along with Mervyn Hayes, left, and Don Estelle, right.
Davies starred in the hit TV show along with Mervyn Hayes, left, and Don Estelle, right.

It Ain't Half Hot Mum co star Melvyn Hayes led tributes to the comedy legend: 'To work with him was a pleasure, a sheer delight... he was a lovely, lovely man.'

Former footballer Stan Collymore said: 'Sad to hear of the passing of Windsor Davies, another part of a golden childhood TV generation passes on. Rest in Peace, lovely boy.'

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He played Battery Sergeant-Major 'Shut Up' Williams from 1974 to 1981, and in 1975 had a number one hit with the novelty track Whispering Grass with his sitcom co-star, which was one of the biggest selling duets of all time on the UK charts.

He also appeared in the TV series Ring Out An Alibi, The New Statesman, Terrahawks and Never The Twain, as well as the films Carry On England and Carry On Behind.

His most recent credited appearance was in an episode of My Family in 2004.

Actor Tony Robinson was among those paying tribute to the star, writing on Twitter: 'Whispering grass don't tell them who kissed there long ago. Why tell them all your secrets, the trees don't have to know."

'"Whispering Grass. UK No1 with Don Estelle 1975. RIP Windsor Davies.'

Producer Jonathan Sothcott wrote: 'Oh no! RIP that wonderful comedy actor Windsor Davies: unforgettable in 70s sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum and the lead in 2 of the later Carry Ons.

'Impeccable comic timing. Just his voice made me smile. Thanks for all the laughs.'