Michael Angelis, the British actor who spent more than two decades as the voice of Thomas the Tank Engine, has passed away from a heart attack at the age of 76. According to a report from BBC News, he died suddenly at his home on Saturday, May 30th, with his wife present. In 1991, Angelis took over narration duties on Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends from Ringo Starr. He went on to narrate thirteen series of the show – which was later shortened to Thomas and Friends – from 1991 to 2012. He also narrated six episodes total of the American version of the show.
Angelis was born on January 18, 1944 in Liverpool, England. He went on to train at the College of Dramatic Art at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow. He began to appear in television during the early 1970s, with roles that included Coronation Street, Z-Cars, and The Liverbirds. Outside of the Thomas franchise, he is perhaps best known for portraying Chrissie Todd in the five-episode 1982 miniseries Boys from the Black Stuff. He then made appearances in The Professionals, Bergerac, Bread, and The Russ Abbot Show, before going on to star in the miniseries G.B.H.
Angelis’ other television credits include Wail of the Banshee, Luv, Between the Lines, Boon, Common as Muck, A Touch of Frost, Midsomer Murders, The Bill, and Good Cop. He also appeared in a handful of films, including A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, George and Mildred, and No Surrender. He narrated the Thomas movies Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, and Day of the Diesels. He also voiced characters for three Thomas video games.
Angelis was married to Coronation Street actress Helen Worth for nearly ten years, with the couple ultimately divorcing in 2001. He married his second wife, a Welsh model named Jennifer Khalastchi, that same year.
Our thoughts are with Angelis’ friends, family, and fans at this time.