Popular Hollywood actor, Simon Shelton Barnes, who is best known for playing Tinky Winky in the BBC children’s TV show, Teletubbies, has died just four days after his 52nd birthday.
According to reports, the father-of-three from Ampthill, Bedfordshire, who was married to actress Emma Robbins, had found fame after replacing original Tinky Winky actor, Dave Thompson on the show.
The deceased who is the brother-in-law of Poldark actor, Robert Daws and uncle of Inbetweeners actor, Emily Atack, is a trained ballet dancer and choreographer.
The actor was reluctant to portray the Barny character at first, but later called the Teletubbies “a bit like the Beatles or Take That of television”.
“I thought it was a bit of a risky move but it certainly paid off,” Barnes said at the time, adding how he received fan mail from children and parents.
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.”
Barnes’s son Henry posted a tribute on Facebook, writing: “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.”
The funeral will take place on the 7 February at the Bedford Crematorium. Family members have asked those attending to “wear bright colours” to remember Barnes.