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Tony Booth

Tony Booth, actor and campaigner, dies aged 85

Star of Till Death Us Do Part was married four times and had eight daughters including Cherie Booth

Tony Booth with Cherie in 1997
Tony Booth with his daughter Cherie in 1997. Photograph: Peter Wilcock/PA

The actor Tony Booth, who starred in the 1960s TV sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, has died aged 85.

Booth played the “Scouse git” son-in-law of the foul-mouthed Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell) in the popular comedy, before becoming better known in later life for being the father of Cherie Blair.

A committed Labour supporter, having joined the party when he was 15, Booth did not let family ties get in the way of him criticising Tony Blair’s government, his interventions often proving embarrassing for the prime minister and his wife.

The actors’ union Equity paid tribute to “an outstanding actor and campaigner”.

Booth married four times and had eight daughters. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2004 and had experienced heart problems.

A statement released on behalf of his widow, Steph Booth, said: “It is with sadness we announce the death of Antony Booth, actor and political campaigner. Tony passed away late last night with close family members in attendance. The family ask for their privacy to be respected at this time.”

Tony Booth in 1966 in Till Death Us Do Part, with Warren Mitchell, Una Stubbs and Dandy Nichols
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Booth (left) in 1966 in Till Death Us Do Part, with Warren Mitchell (right), Una Stubbs (second left) and Dandy Nichols. Photograph: PA

Booth was born in Liverpool in 1931. He discovered a talent for acting and, during his national service, entertained his fellow conscripts in amateur productions.

Cherie Booth was born in Bury, Lancashire, in 1954, during Tony’s marriage to Gale Booth. By the time she was five, her father had left.

He was an early authentic working-class voice on television and his portrayal in Till Death Us Do Part of the long-haired Liverpudlian Mike, always at odds with his bigoted father-in-law, reflected his own political beliefs.

These beliefs saw him become a thorn in the side of his real-life son-in-law when Blair’s New Labour government swept into No 10 in 1997.

He railed against “androids” at Labour’s Millbank HQ and accused the prime minister of stuffing the House of Lords with “Tony’s Cronies”.

His daughter was not exempt from criticism, as when he attacked the couple’s decision to send their eldest son to the selective, grant-maintained London Oratory school.

During the firefighters’ strike in 2002, he said the government had “ruthlessly” squashed their pay demands. He also accused it of being “prepared to throw away billions” on the Iraq war, rather than spending the money on pensioners.

His son-in-law made light of the criticism, once saying: “I don’t think it would be the very first time I had a little bit of grief from Tony along the way.”

At the Labour party conference in 2002, Blair said he was once given a V-sign by an elderly man with grey hair who was “respectable enough” to have been his father-in-law.

Turning to his wife, the prime minister added: “I should have given him one in return, shouldn’t I?”

Despite political differences, Booth remained close to his daughter and was with her and her husband at his constituency election count in the 2005 general election.

As well as Till Death Us Do Part, Booth had a host of film and TV roles during the 1960s, including playing Malcolm Wilkinson in Coronation Street.

His third marriage was to the actor Pat Phoenix, who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street and died from cancer a week after their wedding in 1986.

She was said to have become the love of his life after he met her as a young man. He went out with her again in his 50s and nursed her through her illness.

He married his fourth wife, Stephanie Buckley, in 1998.

Booth enjoyed a revival in his television career in the 1990s, with roles in Holby City, The Bill and Mersey Beat.

The actor, writer and comedian Neil Fitzmaurice, who starred alongside Booth in ITV’s 2007 conspiracy thriller Mobile, paid tribute to a “a very sweet and funny man”.

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Providing Outstanding Quality Funeral Services & Facilities At Very Affordable Prices:

Low Cost: Cremation starting at $575. Lowest cost locally

Super Low Cost: Full Service special value plan starts at $ 2,500. Lowest cost in Portland & Salem

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bestaweddle silver

4 Years In A Row, Thank you for voting for us.

Weddle Funeral Service or Funerals @ Hubbard Chapel or Cremation OnLine & Natural Burial

The Best Often Cost Less

Call 503-769-2423

We beleive we achieve these Salem (OR.) Funeral Home awards by providing outstanding Burial Services along with Cremation, Cremation and Funeral Planning and of course the Funeral Services.