Author and playwright Keith Waterhouse dies at 80

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Friday, September 4, 2009

English author and playwright Keith Waterhouse has died at the age of 80. His family issued a statement on Friday morning saying, "Keith Waterhouse, aged 80, died quietly in his sleep this morning." The spokesperson for his family said that he "had not been very well," but did not state his illness or cause of death.

He is best known for writing the best-selling novel Billy Liar in 1959 — a book that was later turned into a film in 1963 starring Tom Courtenay. His other works include his screen-writing debut, Whistle Down the Wind in 1961. He was also a playwright. Some of his well-known plays included Mr and Mrs Nobody and Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell which debuted in 1989 on the West End in London.

Waterhouse was also a columnist for the British tabloid newspaper, the Daily Mail, from 1993 until May 2009, when health problems forced him to quit. When talking about the late writer's last column in the newspaper, Daily Mail writer Geoffrey Levy said, "Thanks for every word, Keith."