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Edward Duke, “Jeeves” Actor, Dead At 40

January 17, 1994

LONDON (AP) _ Edward Duke, a British actor best known for his solo show ″Jeeves Takes Charge″ based on the writings of P. G. Wodehouse, has died of cancer at age 40.

Duke died Jan. 8 at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, his agent Peter Charlesworth said Monday.

Duke performed on Broadway and London’s West End as well as in British provincial theater. On film, he appeared in ″The French Lieutenant’s Woman,″ ″Invitation to the Wedding,″ and the upcoming ″Decadence″ with Joan Collins.

He spent more than a decade preparing and touring ″Jeeves Takes Charge.″ Adapted from four Wodehouse stories, the show featured Duke playing a dozen characters, including the clever valet Jeeves and his dim but likable employer, Wooster.

Duke performed the show twice on the West End, in 1980 and 1987, receiving an Olivier award - London’s Tony - for Most Promising Newcomer. He took the show to Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and the United States, where he won a Drama Desk nomination for best actor.

Duke most recently appeared on the American stage in the short-lived 1992 Broadway revival of ″Private Lives,″ with Joan Collins.

The third of five children, Duke spent much of his childhood in Tokyo where his late father was cultural attache.

He spent the early part of his career in regional theater, and appeared on the West End in ″Filumena″ and ″Why Not Stay For Breakfast?″

More recently, Duke appeared on the West End in Arthur Wing Pinero’s ″Trelawny’ of the Wells″ and as in the Chichester Festival Theater staging of Noel Coward’s ″Relative Values.″

He is survived by two brothers and a sister.

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