A celebrated figure in British comedy for over a half-century, Eric Sykes was a writer and performer whose brand of gentle but absurd humor first came to flower as a writer for the famed "Goon Show" (BBC, 1951-1960) and later as the star of his own sitcom, "Sykes and A " (BBC, 1960-65). The latter program showcased Sykes' knack for crafting exceptionally funny shows out of the simplest of storylines, many of which centered on his interest in a new gadget or a half-baked idea. Longtime co-star Hattie Jacques, who played Sykes' sister in the series and its revival, "Sykes" (BBC, 1972-79), added to the mayhem by loudly proclaiming his ineptitude, which he combated with unflappable optimism. Sykes also directed several well-received short films, most notably the slapstick comedy "The Plank" (1967), and toured in numerous stage productions like the improvisational comedy "Big Bad Mouse." But it was television that remained his primary showcase for his talents until the early 21st century, when he began appearing in high-profile features like "The Others" (2001) and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005). Though age and illness hampered his ability to work with regularity, Sykes continued to play affable types well into his eighth decade before his death in 2012. The outpouring of affectionate tributes that followed his passing underscored his status as one of the U.K.'s most beloved comic figures.