Nicholas Lyndhurst’s life from child star fame to dancer wife and family tragedy
Nicholas Lyndhurst is celebrating a milestone birthday this week, turning the big 6-0 with his nearest and dearest around him.
The actor has been working before the cameras since childhood, carving out an enormously successful career on both stage and screen.
Most will know him for his roles on television classics Only Fools and Horses and Goodnight Sweetheart, but Nicholas has appeared in dozens of renowned dramas over the past five decades.
Marking his 60th birthday, Daily Star has taken a look at his extraordinary life, paying tribute to his late son and remembering some of his unforgettable roles over the years.
Happy Birthday, Nicholas.
Born in Hampshire, Nicholas cut his teeth as an actor when he joined the Corona Theatre School in London aged 10, which has made stars of the likes of Dennis Waterman and Charlie Brooks.
Throughout the 70s, he appeared in a number of TV ads and kids' films, before landing his big break with the BBC.
Aged just 15, he played Prince Edward in a TV adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper, which eventually led to more acting roles.
Though he enjoyed a thriving career from an early age, Nicolas' home life was more difficult, with his father leaving the family when he was young.
"He was charming – a chivalrous, well-mannered man … considering he b*ggered off and started another family," he told The Guardian in 2015.
"My parents, Joe and Liz, separated when I was very young, got back together and separated permanently when I was a bit older. By the time I was eight, he'd begun an affair and had children with another woman."
Nicholas met ballet dancer Lucy Smith in 1992, with the pair eventually tying the knot seven years later in an intimate ceremony in Chichester, West Sussex.
They moved near the coastal town of East Wittering, eventually welcoming their only son, Archie, in 2002.
The actor praised Lucy in an interview with The Guardian six years ago, insisting he "can't imagine not being with my wife".
"She can turn her hand to anything and is a brilliant mother," he said, crediting the former ballet star with turning his life around, with the pair making a home together in the countryside.
"She was with the English National Ballet when we met in 1992 and has brought her ballerina mentality into my life. I didn't live in squalor, but it wasn't quite as ordered as it is now."
Tragic death of his son
Nicholas' only son Archie, who was following in his footsteps as an actor, tragically died on September 22 of last year, having suffered from a condition called Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma/Leukaemia.
Archie died of a brain haemorrhage while asleep at home, with Nicolas saying he was "utterly grief-stricken" by the news.
The 19-year-old had previously starred in the CBBC drama So Awkward, having trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Archie's mum Lucy sharing a poignant statement in the wake of his death, saying: "To lose a child is every parent's nightmare and I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone.
"My heart goes out to any other parents what have had to experience this. Nick and I try each day to make Archie proud, but it's baby steps, beyond hard and a struggle at times.
"The world is a very different place without him."
She added: "Our darling boy, we love you forever and ever and thank you every day, for every beautiful memory we have. We will celebrate you always. "
Rise to fame
Nicholas Lyndhurst is synonymous with Rodney Trotter, the mild-tempered young lad of Only Fools and Horses fame.
However, it was his teenage roles in two major BBC sitcoms – Going Straight and Butterflies – that launched his career.
He went on to star in To Serve Them All My Days in the early 80s, before getting cast as the younger brother of David Jason's Derek "Del Boy" Trotter.
Running on BBC for two decades, Only Fools and Horses is widely regarded as one of the most seminal British comedies of all time.
Behind the scenes, Nicolas and David were great friends, with the actors regarding each of their co-stars as a family of sorts.
As a result, Nicolas previously admitted he struggled to watch old episodes back, as leading stars, such as Lennard Pearce who played Grandad, have since died.
Nicholas told the Daily Mail: "I don't want to see friends who are no longer with us on screen. We used to go and surprise them on their birthdays.
"We used to wind them up. We used to tease each other. It was a family. So yeah, it's sad."
Nicolas stayed with the series until its end in 2003 and has since confirmed there will never be a reunion, admitting it would do the show a disservice.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror last year, he said: "We can't do Fools and Horses again as the writers are not there. It will never happen. It ended on a high."
Since Only Fools and Horses
While starring in Only Fools and Horses, Nicholas bagged the lead role in Goodnight Sweetheart, which saw him play a time traveller named Gary Sparrow.
Becoming a household name, he won a BAFTA for his multi-character role in the WH Smith adverts and played the baddie in the 90s flick David Copperfield.
After appearing in several more TV shows, he joined New Tricks as a regular in 2013, playing former detective chief inspector Dan Griffin in the crime drama.
More recently, Nicholas has turned his talents to the stage, appearing in operatic productions of Man of La Mancha and Carousel.
Despite his tremendous success as an actor, Nicholas admitted he dislikes the celebrity that comes with his job, telling Daily Mail: "I understand they want us to do the red- carpet thing, but if you could see my toes inside my highly polished shoes, they are absolutely curling up in horror.
"Every joint in my body is clenched."
In his downtime, Nicholas pursues a number of interesting hobbies, including the high-risk sport of underwater diving.
The actor was even asked to present a show on diving, which he turned down, telling the Belfast Telegraph: "It was mooted once, not by me. I'm of the generation, I remember [marine expert] Jacques Cousteau and he did it best, leave it to him.
"Just because I'm 'off the telly' doesn't make it any more interesting that I go diving. I want an expert to entertain me about all things like that. Again with the flying. Go and watch the History Channel if you want to watch that sort of thing.
"I don't think I'm very good at presenting myself to camera, I don't think."
Owning several planes, Nicholas is also a trained pilot, and he enjoys beekeeping on the side.
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