The actor who played Tinky Winky in the children’s
hit TV show Teletubbies, Simon Barnes has died four days after his 52nd birthday, UKSun states.
The father of three was married to actress Emma Robbins and lived in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. He had trained as a ballet dancer and choreographer.
He once said being in the Teletubbies was “a bit like the Beatles or Take That of television”.
Shortly before his death, he posted on his Facebook page: “I’m on the fabulous Wirral and had a fantastic Christmas Day lunch with Jude and her extraordinary Dad, Ken. Hope you’re all Happy and Healthy xxx.”
Tributes poured in for the man behind the beloved handbag-carrying character after news of his death broke.
His daughter posted a heartbroken message to Facebook on January 21.
She wrote: “I love you so much Dad… always have, always will. The most beautiful man in the world.”
Paul McCartney’s brother, Mike McGear, also paid tribute to the actor.
The second cousin of Simon’s former wife, Emma, wrote he was “a luvly lad”.
Simon’s son Henry wrote: “I lost my lovely dad on Wednesday, he was the kindest and most gentle man I knew and I love him more than anything!!!!
“I always used to be embarrassed as a child that he was a dancer and an actor but now I couldn’t be more proud! He is in a better place now and I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad, so I’m going to live my life the way he would want me to.”
“My wonderful uncle Simon Barnes has been taken away from us all so suddenly.
“The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet. Loved by all who knew him and will be forever.”
Tinky Winky is the largest and oldest of the group of Teletubbies.
He is purple and has a triangular antenna on his head – he was almost always seen carrying a red bag.
Simon was not the first to play the popular character – the original actor Dave Thompson left the show in 1997 after being told his “interpretation of the role was not acceptable”.
Simon’s niece, Emily Atack, posted a black and white picture of the actor on Instagram and wrote:
The Teletubbies were a huge hit after airing on March 31, 1997 on BBC2.
It was so successful it even had a number one hit in the UK charts in 1997.