Benji Gregory: Child star who played Brian Tanner in Alf dies aged 46

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The child star of a US sitcom that aired in the UK has died aged 46 - alongside his service dog, it has been reported.

Benji Gregory stole the show in Alf, which also featured a puppet alien that had crash-landed in a family’s backyard. It ran from 1986 to 1990 in the US, and was also broadcast on UK terrestrial television, as well as being syndicated around the world.

Gregory played Brian Tanner, nicknamed B, in 101 episodes. After that he enlisted in the US navy in 2003, before being granted an honourable medical discharge in 2005.

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Now his sister Rebecca has revealed that he was found dead in his car at a Chase Bank parking lot in Peoria, Arizona, on June 13. US celebrity website TMZ says that his death certificate confirms the date, and the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office told the website that Gregory’s cause of death is still pending.

Rebecca told TMZ that her brother suffered from depression, bipolar disorder and had a sleep disorder that often kept him awake for days. It’s thought that he went to the bank to pay in cheques, fell asleep in his car and died from heatstroke due to Arizona's intense summer heat.

Benji was with his service dog Hans, and the animal also died.

Rebecca told TMZ that the family is grieving a great loss and “appreciates everyone's thoughts and kind words”. She suggested donations in Benji's name would be appreciated to either The Actors Equity Foundation or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Tributes have been paid on social media to Gregory, with one person saying: “This hurts. Benji Gregory was a sweet, down to earth child actor and when us teens were partying, he was a straight edged skater. I'll never forget he wrote in my yearbook ‘Hope you become Miss America someday’.”

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