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15th Dec 2023

Emmerdale legend Steve Halliwell dies aged 77

Charlie Herbert


He’s been described as the ‘undoubted father’ of Emmerdale.

Emmerdale actor Steve Halliwell, who played Zak Dingle on the soap, has died aged 77.

He died “peacefully with his loved ones around him”, his family said.

In a statement, they said: “He was making us laugh to the end. The most amazing father and grandfather you could ever wish for, family was everything to him.”

The family also paid tribute to the staff at St James’s Hospital in Leeds and Wheatfield Hospice “for their love and kindness in his final days”.

“He didn’t want sadness, just to rejoice in a life well lived,” they added.

Emmerdale legend Steve Halliwell dies aged 77

Halliwell spent 29 years on Emmerdale playing Zak, the patriarch of the Dingle family and father of Cain, Belle and Sam Dingle.

Paying tribute to him, John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north, described Halliwell as the “undoubted father” of the soap opera.

He said: “Steve Halliwell was one of those rare human beings who was as wonderful off screen as on.

“To millions of Emmerdale viewers he was the brawny but crafty Dingle patriarch who led the clan with a strong fist and a warm heart.

“To everyone who worked on Emmerdale, he was a much loved friend and colleague, the undoubted father of the show, but also its fun mischievous uncle. We will miss him enormously.”

emmerdaleHalliwell, second from the right, played Zak Dingle for 29 years in Emmerdale (ITV)

The actor’s other credits included Coronation Street, Cracker, Heartbeat and Threads.

ITV said in a statement: “It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that Emmerdale can confirm that Steve Halliwell, our beloved Zak Dingle, has peacefully passed away.

“All our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones through this very difficult time, and we’d request that their privacy is respected as they grieve for his loss.

“Steve will forever be synonymous with Emmerdale. The proud defender and head of the Dingle family. Heart and humour in all he did, it has been and always will be impossible not to smile when you think of him.”

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