Veteran American funnyman actor Buddy Hackett has passed away, aged 78.

The rubber-faced comedian's professional career spanned 50 years, and took in appearances in nightclubs, the Broadway, New York stage, various television programmes and a number of films including THE MUSIC MAN and THE LOVE BUG.

He also provided the voice for the SCUTTLE character in hit animated film The Little Mermaid.

Hackett died at his Southern California beach house, according to his fellow actor son SANDY.

Sandy says, "He was one of the greatest ever. He was a terrific father. He was my best friend. He prepared me very well for this day, but no matter how much you prepare it still hurts."

The cause of death is not yet known.

01/07/2003 17:25