Ray Galton, writer of classic British sitcoms, dies at 88

FILE - In this May 9, 2014 file photo, Ray Galton, left, and Alan Simpson stand in front of an English Heritage blue plaque, at the unveiling, outside 20 Queen's Gate Place, London. Screenwriter Ray Galton, who co-wrote the landmark British comedy series "Hancock's Half Hour" and "Steptoe and Son," has died at age 88. Galton's family said Saturday Oct. 6, 2018, that he died the previous evening after a "long and heartbreaking battle with dementia." (Justin Tallis/PA via AP, File)

LONDON — Screenwriter Ray Galton, who co-wrote the landmark British comedy series "Hancock's Half Hour" and "Steptoe and Son," has died at 88.

Galton's family said Saturday that he died Friday evening after a "long and heart-breaking battle with dementia."

The London-born Galton was diagnosed with life-threatening tuberculosis as a teenager. In a sanatorium, he met another sick teen, Alan Simpson, and the pair became long-term writing partners.

Manager Tessa Le Bars called them "the fathers and creators of British sitcom."

Galton and Simpson wrote "Hancock's Half Hour" for popular post-war comedian Tony Hancock. Their biggest hit was "Steptoe and Son," a sitcom about father-and-son junk dealers, which ran between 1962 and 1974. Producer Norman Lear adapted it into the U.S. sitcom "Sanford and Son."

Simpson died last year at 87.

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