Dennis Waterman: what did he die of, illness, actor and Minder star’s cause of death - and net worth

Waterman’s family have said he passed away ‘very peacefully’ in a Spanish hospital

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Dennis Waterman, who starred in the television dramas Minder, The Sweeney and New Tricks, has died at the age of 74.

Waterman rose to prominence as bodyguard Terry McCann in Minder - which introduced the criminal underbelly of west London to millions of households throughout the UK - and as tough nut cop George Carter in The Sweeney alongside John Thaw.

He became famous for singing the theme music to many of his shows, and as a result, was parodied by David Walliams in Little Britain.

But how did he die, and what was the cause of his death?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who was Dennis Waterman?

Waterman was born in London and attended the Corona Theatre School.

He began his showbiz career at an early age, and after a part for the Children's Film Foundation, was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford.

Following that, he landed a role in the BBC's production of the Just William books.

His biggest role came with comedy drama Minder, in which Waterman starred in seven series as bodyguard Terry McCann between the years of 1979 to 1989.

Waterman also performed the theme song, "I Could Be So Good for You" (written by his then-wife Patricia), which was a top three hit in the UK in 1980.

Little Britain parodied Waterman - centre - as an auditioning actor determined to ‘write da feem toon, sing da feem toon’ (Photo:Getty Images)Little Britain parodied Waterman - centre - as an auditioning actor determined to ‘write da feem toon, sing da feem toon’ (Photo:Getty Images)
Little Britain parodied Waterman - centre - as an auditioning actor determined to ‘write da feem toon, sing da feem toon’ (Photo:Getty Images)

His role in 2004’s drama New Tricks marked his return to a long-running show for the first time in a decade and saw him star alongside acting stalwarts James Bolam and Alun Armstrong.

His character Gerry was part of the cold case squad, who were often at odds with their detective boss, played by Amanda Redman.

Channel 5 reintroduced Minder in 2009, however Waterman did not return for the new series, which instead starred Shane Ritchie as the nephew of one of the original show’s characters - it was cancelled after only six episodes.

In 2009, he starred in the BBC’s hard-hitting drama Moses Jones, a role which he said at the time he enjoyed because it cast him in a different light.

Waterman’s talents were not limited to acting; he was also a musician, recording albums and singles that were hits in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

How did he die?

The exact cause of Waterman’s death has not been made public, though his family have said he passed away “very peacefully” in a Spanish hospital.

The statement said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved Dennis, passed away very peacefully in hospital in Spain, on Sunday afternoon, with [wife] Pam by his side.

“The family kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”

It has been rumoured by some outlets that Waterman had been battling cancer ahead of his death, although NationalWorld was unable to find any trustworthy sources to corraborate this.

(Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)

According to The Mirror, Waterman spent his time after the New Tricks ended "doing f***-all" in Spain, and said he was not actively hunting for new projects.

After the series ended, Waterman said he had downsized his properties, and was enjoying semi-retirement.

"I'm not racing about seeking for a job - I'll see how far the money goes," he remarked.

“I’m not rushing about looking for work really – I’ll see how far the money goes,” he said. “I’ve found out a remarkable thing about myself is that I’m really, really good at doing f***-all.”

How many times was he married?

Waterman was married four times.

In 1967, he married actress Penny Dixon, whom he divorced in 1976.

Waterman then married second wife Patricia Maynard, with whom he has two daughters, one of which is Hannah Waterman, a former EastEnders actress who later played his daughter in New Tricks.

He made headlines when he divorced Maynard in 1987 and married actress Rula Lenska, but that marriage ended after ten years due to his abusive behaviour toward her.

On a 2012 episode of Piers Morgan's Life Stories , Waterman caused controversy with his remarks on the subject, saying “it's not difficult for a woman to make a man hit her,” and claimed Lenska “certainly wasn't a beaten wife.”

Following his second drink-driving conviction in four years, Waterman was prohibited from driving for three years in 1991.

After many years of friendship, Waterman married his fourth wife, Pam Flint, in 2011; they remained together until his death.

Flint was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006, but was able to receive life-saving surgery, and throughout which Waterman supported her.

"I couldn't have had a better partner to see me through this,” Flint said at the time, even though Waterman had admitted he wasn't normally good with other people being sick.

What is Dennis Waterman’s net worth?

According to, Dennis Waterman has a net worth of $5 million (£4 million).