Frank Thornton has died aged 92, it has been announced.

Thornton was one of Britain's best-loved comedy actors, starring in such enduring TV sitcom classics as 'Last of the Summer Wine' and 'Are You Being Served?' as well as making his name on the big screen.

frank thornton
Frank Thornton as Captain Peacock in 'Are You Being Served?'

Alongside Trevor Bannister, Wendy Richard and Inman, Thornton was one of the stalwarts of department store sitcom 'Are You Being Served?', where he played the long-suffering Captain Peacock from 1972 to 1985, a role he later reprised for 'Grace and Favour' in the 1990s.

In 1997, he joined the cast of 'Last of the Summer Wine', where he played the character Herbert 'Truly' Truelove, until the series finished in 2010.

frank thornton
'Last of the Summer Wine'

After leaving an early career in insurance, Thornton originally made his name with regular appearances supporting Benny Hill, Frankie Howerd, Eric Sykes, Reg Varney, Spike Milligan in their own comedy shows.

Thornton was a regular actor on the big screen, too, with appearances in comedies including 'Carry On Screaming!' 'The Early Bird' and 'Up the Chastity Belt'. But he was versatile, with straight roles in 'Gosford Park', on the London stage in 'Me and My Girl' and even worked in soap, with a recurring role on 'Emmerdale' as Bert Dingle.

Of the original cast of 'Are You Being Served?', Bannister, Richard and Inman had all pre-deceased Thornton. Nicholas Smith is now the only surviving original cast member.

Pictures: Frank Thornton was a beloved British comedy actor...

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  • Television - BBC Comedy - It's a Square World

    Actor Frank Thornton on 'It's a Square World'

  • John Inman funeral

    Are You Being Served actors Frank Thornton (left), Wendy Richard (centre) with series writer Trevor Bannister (right); attending the funeral of fellow actor John Inman, at Golders Green Crematorium today.

  • Theatre - 'Me and My Girl' Rehearsal - Adelphi Theatre, London

    Robert Lindsay (l) who plays Bill Snibson and Frank Thornton (l) who plays Sir John Treymane during rehearsals ahead of the play opening the following week. 'Me and My Girl', the show with the Lambeth Walk, opens next week. The hit musical of the thirties and fourties ran for 1,646 performances at the Victoria Palace.

  • Theatre - 'Me and My Girl' Rehearsal - Adelphi Theatre, London

    Frank Thornton, who plays Sir John Treymane. during rehearsals ahead of the play opening the following week.

  • Entertainment - Frank Thornton

    Frank Thornton, best known for playing Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served? and its sequel Grace & Favour

  • Wendy Richard Funeral - London

    Frank Thornton attends the funeral of Wendy Richard at St Marylebone Parish Church, Marylebone Road in central London.

  • Wendy Richard Funeral - London

    Frank Thornton and his wife Beryl attend the funeral of Wendy Richard at St Marylebone Parish Church, Marylebone Road in central London.

  • OWEN/Last of Summer Wine

    Tom Owen (centre), actor son of Bill Owen, who played the part of Compo in the BBC Series Last of The Summer Wine, joins Peter Sallis (Clegg), left and Frank Thornton (Truly) at Teddington Studios, London. Tom will play Compo's long lost son, Tom Simmonite.

  • Getti Opening Actors

    Actors Frank Thornton (L) and Jonathan Cecil attend the celebrity opening of the restaurant "Getti" on Jermyn Street in London, in aid of the Rhys Daniels Trust, a charity which supports a "Home from Home" scheme for children in long term care.

  • John Inman funeral

    Actors Frank Thornton, left, and Wendy Richard attends the funeral of 'Are You Being Served?' co-star John Inman at Golders Green Crematorium in north London.

  • PA NEWS PHOTO 26/4/98 FRANK THORNTON AT A 40TH ANNIVERSARY GALA REUNION FOR ACTORS AND MAKERS OF THE "CARRY ON" FILM SERIES AT ...

    PA NEWS PHOTO 26/4/98 FRANK THORNTON AT A 40TH ANNIVERSARY GALA REUNION FOR ACTORS AND MAKERS OF THE "CARRY ON" FILM SERIES AT PINEWOOD STUDIOS, LONDON

  • Chelsea Flower Show/ 'Last of the Summer Wine'

    Frank Thornton, left, and Peter Sallis, from TV's 'Last of the Summer Wine' help celebrate 75 years of the National Gardens Scheme, at Chelsea Flower Show, London.

  • Funeral Of Actor John Inman

    LONDON - MARCH 23: Frank Thornton, Wendy Richards and Trevor Bannister leave the funeral of actor John Inman at Golders Green Crematorium on March 23, 2007 in London, England. John Inman, best known for his role as Mr Humphries in the 70's hit comedy 'Are You Being Served' died aged-71 on March 8, 2007. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

  • Funeral of Actress Wendy Richard

    LONDON - MARCH 09: Frank Thornton arrives for the funeral of actress Wendy Richard at St Mary's Church, Marylebone High Street on March 09, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images)