Last Of The Summer Wine star Tom Owen dies aged 73

Last Of The Summer Wine actor Tom Owen has died aged 73.

Wen has played the nomadic Tom Simmonite in the popular and long-running BBC sitcom for 10 years since 2000.

His appearance on the show continues the family tradition after his father, Bill Owen, played his on-screen father, Compo Simmonite.

His other TV credits include The Bill, The Onedin Line and Upstairs Downstairs.


Tom Owen (centre) with Last Of The Summer Wine co-stars Peter Sallis (left) and Frank Thornton (Rebecca Naden/PA)

His family said: “He passed away peacefully and is survived by his two children, James and William, and his ex-wife, Mary.”

Owen began his acting career after leaving school, and his father was instrumental in landing him his first job as an assistant stage manager at the Leatherhead Theater in Surrey.

After 12 months there, he moved on to take up a similar job at the Westminster Theatre.

After four years in television, Owen returned to the theater in Sidmouth, Devon, and continued to work and direct in the theatre.

Owen was cast to play Compo’s long-lost son just days after his father’s death in July 1999 from cancer.

He first learned about writer Roy Clarke’s search when he received a phone call from the show’s producer, Alan Bell.

Owen said in 2000: “It’s been two or three days since Dad died.

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“Obviously my mind was on other things, like organizing funerals, and I didn’t think I would be approached to play Compo’s long-lost son.

“Alan suggested the idea to me and I thought about it for two seconds before saying yes.”


Tom Owen was asked to join the cast of Last Of The Summer Wine following the death of his father, Bill Owen, in July 1999 (John Giles/PA)

Talking about taking on this role, he said, “At first when I went to the set, it felt very weird.

“It was emotional, but very early on, I decided the only way to deal with it was to become a pro.

“I know very well how the other members might be wary of me. They all went through a traumatic shock when their father passed away. They had also known him all those years.

“Dad loved the show and I think he would be very proud that it continues, and in a way, it continues in his memory. I think he will be happy that I took his place.”

In 2018, he starred in the feature film The Bromley Boys. Last Of The Summer Wine star Tom Owen dies aged 73

Fry Electronics Team

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