This Is Spinal Tap Actor Tony Hendra Dies At 79

This Is Spinal Tap actor Tony Hendra has died at the age of 79. The news about the former National Lampoon editor was delivered by his wife to the New York Times. Cambridge University Footlights is where the comedian got his start in 1961 and 1962. Hendra appeared alongside John Cleese and Graham Chapman in some of those shows. But, in 1964 he made the choice to move to the United States and make a go of it here. A dynamite appearance on the Ed Sullivan show led to his star rising and encountered some bumps in the road on the way to Lampoon. His stint at the magazine would see him begin a new period of popularity for the publication. He helped launch the careers of John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Christopher Guest. Carla Hendra wrote to the Times about the satirist and talked about how happy he was to find a home in America.

“He was an immigrant who sailed from London into N.Y. Harbor on the SS United States after being given free passage in exchange for performing stand-up,” she said by email. “What was to be a two-week visit became 57 years, because he believed in the promise of America.”

The comedian’s manager Rob Reiner also put out a statement in remembrance of his friend.

“Tony Hendra who played Spinal Tap’s manager, Ian, has sadly passed away,” Reiner wrote on Twitter. “A brilliant satirist who when learning that the band’s Boston gig had been canceled, told them not to worry that Boston wasn’t a big college town. R.I.P.”

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