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Emmerdale actor Freddie Jones, best known for playing Sandy Thomas, dies aged 91

Jul 10, 2019

Emmerdale star Freddie Jones has died.

His agent Lesley Duff announced the actor, who played Sandy Thomas on the soap from 2005 to 2018, died on Tuesday aged 91.

Duff said: ‘It is with great sadness that I can confirm the death of Freddie Jones.

‘He passed away on the evening of July 9 after a short illness.

‘Freddie was a much loved and admired actor, known for his triumphs in classical theatre, film and television. He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him and most especially his family.’

Jones left the ITV soap last year with Sandy jetting off to Australia to visit Betty and her friend Maisie.

Explaining his decision to leave the soap, he admitted in 2018 that it was about finding balance in his life.

Emmerdale offered him another contract to stay on for one more year, but he turned it down as he felt there wasn’t much more Sandy could do after Ashley’s death.

He told Radio Times at the time: ‘It’s about the balance of my life. The company generously offered me another 12 months. But I just thought, “I have no idea what I’m going to do in another bloody year!” The drama that Ashley’s death gave me last year was monumental. But that’s gone now.

(Picture: ITV)

‘I travel three hours by car, book into a hotel and then get up the next day to say maybe three sentences. And then do a three hour journey back.

‘I can’t justify staying, even though Emmerdale was very generous in asking me to.’

Sandy was the father of vicar Ashley Thomas, and one of his most memorable storylines centred on the death of Ashley who had been battling vascular dementia.

The father and son were also at the centre of an elder abuse storyline in 2012.

He reappeared on Emmerdale in February to say a final goodbye to his family and friends as he began his new life away from the village.

Jones, the father of actor Toby Jones, started out performing in amateur theatre as a side project while he worked as a laboratory assistant. Later in life he decided to make a career change and began acting full time, getting his first credit on TV mini series Androcles And The Lion in 1960.

He also had roles in dramas Far From The Madding Crowd and Nicholas Nickleby, also landing TV parts in Heartbeat and Casualty.

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