His manager, Phil Dale, confirmed the news in a statement on Monday, explaining that he died in hospital, surrounded by his family.
He said: “It is with great sadness that the family announce that Geoffrey passed away in hospital with his wife, Sarah, and son, Tom, by his side.”
He continued: “Geoffrey Hayes… was an English television presenter and actor, best known as the host of Thames Television’s top-rated children’s show ‘Rainbow’, and for his portrayal of Detective Constable Scatliff in the successful TV Series ‘Z Cars’ for the BBC.
“The family would like to express their thanks to the many fans over the years as it always gave Geoffrey so much pleasure to know that he and his Rainbow team had given so much fun to TV and theatre audiences over the years.
“There will be no further comment at the moment and it would be appreciated if the privacy of Geoffrey’s family is respected at this most difficult time.”
Geoffrey took the helm of ‘Rainbow’ from presenter David Cook in 1974, and remained with the programme until 1992.
He served as the human companion to the other residents of the ‘Rainbow’ house, including Bungle the Bear, George the pink hippo and Zippy, the humanoid character famous for having a zip across his mouth (often used to silence him during his louder moments).
The show also launched the careers of ‘Rod, Jane and Freddie’, the musical trio who appeared regularly on the show over the years.