Simon Shelton Barnes, the actor most known for his role in Teletubbies, died on Wednesday, January 17, the actor’s son Henry told BBC. Shelton was a father of three living in Bedfordshire, England.
“My wonderful uncle Simon Barnes has been taken from us all so suddenly,” actress Emily Atack wrote on Instagram on January 19, sharing a photo of the actor. “The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet. Loved by all who knew him, and will be forever.”
Shelton played the purple teletubby, Tinky Winky, in the British program, which ran from 1997 to 2001.
A friend of the actor told The Daily Mail that he reportedly died of hypothermia after collapsing on the streets in Liverpool. “I’m very floored at losing him, he was just the best company. He was just the best person to live with and we got on terribly well,” his flatmate, Judith Tynan, told The Daily Mail.
“I’m gobsmacked at losing him. He was charming and handsome and delicate and so lovely to be around. He wasn’t difficult, he was pleasurable and a delicate man,” Tynan, who lived with him for the final year of his life, added. She also pointed out that the pair “laughed a lot about [Teletubbies] because it was silly, and he used to tell me that costume weighed 60 pounds.”
“It was a big to-do to wear it because it was just a big thing, but it made his life and put him on the map. It was a very good time in his life and he was privileged to have been part of that success, I think. I think it worked for him,” she continued. “If you’re famous everybody knows your face — but they didn’t know his face, but he had a big time of it, and it worked. And he had a good living from it. I used to say to him every morning, ‘Goodness Simon, how do you look so good?’ He was just a very good looking chap. He was a great flatmate.”
John Simmit, who played green teletubby, Dipsy, tweeted a tribute to Shelton on Tuesday, January 22. “What a week! RIP Simon Shelton aka Tinky Winky: remembering the many good times. Rest easy,” he wrote.
What a week ! RIP Simon Shelton aka Tinky Winky : remembering the many good times. Rest easy pic.twitter.com/4uyJDBoJdO
— John Simmit (@JohnSimmit) January 22, 2018
The official account for the show also tweeted:
Very sad to hear that actor Simon Shelton, who played Tinky Winky in the late 90’s, has sadly passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Big hugs. pic.twitter.com/nBofxSYFLd
— Teletubbies (@TeletubbiesHQ) January 23, 2018
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