Andrew Sachs

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Andrew Sachs
Andrew Sachs.jpg
Birth name Andreas Siegfried Sachs
Born April 7, 1930 in Berlin, Germany
Died November 23, 2016 in London, England, UK
Notable Roles Manuel in Fawlty Towers
Notable Episodes Fawlty Towers: 1x03 - The Wedding Party
Fawlty Towers: 1x06 - The Germans
Fawlty Towers: 2x06 - Basil the Rat
Awards None

Andrew Sachs was a German actor best known for his voice over work and, of course, for his role as the hapless waiter Manuel in the classic British comedy series Fawlty Towers.



Andreas Siegfried Sachs was born on April 7, 1930 in Berlin, Germany. As a child, his Jewish family was persecuted by the Nazis. His father was even briefly arrested and released just prior to Kristallnacht, so his family fled to Britain when Andreas was only eight.

As an adult, he fell in love with British theatre and came to work as an actor, frequently in roles in farces. He also worked in comedy duos and dramatic plays in London. His performance in the farce Habeas Corpus by John Mortimer caught the eye of John Cleese, who hired him to work for his business training video company, Video Arts. Later, when Cleese was putting together his sitcom Fawlty Towers for the BBC, he asked Sachs to play the role of the small, sweet-natured, hapless Spanish waiter Manuel. Although the role became Sachs' most famous, his clever disguise of a moustache helped him avoid being recognized on the street—which Sachs, a very shy man, did not want. At one point, two women on a train talked about the previous night's episode. Although he was sitting right next to them throughout the entire conversation, they never once took any notice of him or recognized him.

Since Fawlty Towers, Sachs has worked in countless projects in British film, TV and radio. A high percentage of his work is as a voice actor. He has performed in animated series, TV documentaries, audio books and radio dramas—including in a Doctor Who drama and as Dr. Watson in a Sherlock Holmes series for BBC Radio. He is married to Melody Lang (who appeared in the Fawlty Towers episode 2x06 - Basil the Rat), with whom he has three children.


Starring Roles

Series Role Year(s) Season(s)
The Six Proud Walkers Willie Walker 1964 1
Legend of Death Dr. Zemouron 1965 1
Fawlty Towers Manuel 1975–1979 1 2
Took and Co. Cast Member 1977 1
Send in the Girls 1978 1
Dead Ernest Ernest Springer 1982 1
It'll All Be Over in Half an Hour Ensemble Member 1983 1
There Comes a Time... Tony James 1985 1
The Gingerbread Man Various Voices 1992 1
The Mushroom Picker Tadeus 1993 1
Every Silver Lining Nat Silver 1993 1
William's Wish Wellingtons Narrator 1994–1997 1 2 3
Pirates Mr. Neville Jones / Basmati Bill 1994–1997 1 2 3
Hotel Narrator 1997 miniseries
The Legend of the Lost Keys George Gardener 1998 1
Starhill Ponies Various Voices 1998 1
Laughter in the House: The Story of British Sitcom Himself 1999 1
Parking Wars Narrator 1999 1
Jack of Hearts Peter Pryce 1999 1
Underwater Trilogy Narrator 1999 1
That Peter Kay Thing Narrator 2000 1
Little Grey Rabbit Various Voices 2000 1
The Talk Show Story Narrator 2000 1
Attachments Murray Plaskow 2000–2001 1 2
Saiyûki Additional Voices (English version) 2000 2
Single Voices Arthur 2002 1
Bad Lads Army Himself 2004 1
Egypt Narrator 2005 miniseries

Guest Starring Roles

Series Role Episode Airdate
Dial RIX Harry Daisy 1x02 - What a Drag October 5, 1962
The Saint Jacques 1x05 - The Loaded Tourist November 1, 1962
Dial RIX Thin Furniture Man 1x05 - No Plums in the Pudding December 26, 1952
Nearest and Dearest Doctor 1x03 - The Danger List August 29, 1968
Fraud Squad Frank Turbot 1x01 - Turbot on Ice May 20, 1969
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Commentator 1x17 - Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave January 9, 1970
Callan Captain 3x03 - The Same Trick Twice April 22, 1970
Codename Stein 1x10 - The Alpha Men June 9, 1970
Rising Damp Snell 4x03 - Great Expectations April 18, 1978
Horizon Albert Einstein 32x02 - Einstein: Fame September 14, 1995
NOVA Albert Einstein 24x01 - Einstein Revealed October 1, 1996
Silent Witness Josef Horowitz 5x01 - The World Cruise December 11, 2000
Heroes of Comedy Himself 1x02 - Dick Emery April 13, 2002
Comedy Lab Hitman 5x06 - Meet the Magoons December 5, 2002
Doctors Geoffrey Vickerstaff 8x26 - Mr Punch May 1, 2003
Holby City Joseph Wolpert 7x43 - Dignity August 10, 2005
Timewatch Dr. Bloch 11/25/05 - Inside the Mind of Adolf Hitler November 25, 2005
The Bill David Leyton 02/15/06 - 390 February 15, 2006

Specials and Made-for-TV Movies

Title Role Airdate Series/Banner
Number 10 The Human Element Nigel Fenn
The Tempest Trinculo February 27, 1980 The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare
The History of Mr. Polly Alfred Polly March 5, 1980
It's Your Move Roadsweeper October 18, 1982
The Galactic Garden Vector January 2, 1985
Funny Women Himself June 24, 1998
Norman Ormal: A Very Political Turtle Party Political Broadcast Voice Over November 1, 1998
The 100 Greatest TV Moments Himself September 11, 1999
Between Iraq and a Hard Place Mullah Omar January 5, 2003
Looking for Victoria Benjamin Disraeli October 27, 2003
The Ultimate Sitcom Himself January 2, 2006
Ricky Gervais Meets... Larry David Narrator January 5, 2006

Talk, News & Game Show Appearances

Series Episode Airdate
This Is Your Life Andrew Sachs
Cluedo Going, Going, Goner August 15, 1990
Breakfast October 3, 2005

Notable Film Roles

Film Role Released
Are You Being Served? Don Carlos Bernardo 1977
Revenge of the Pink Panther Hercule Poirot 1978
History of the World: Part I Gerard 1981
Nowhere in Africa Mr. Rubens 2001


Staff Writer

Series Year(s) Credit Season(s)
Took and Co. 1977 1

Specials and Made-for-TV Movies Written

Title Credit Airdate Series/Banner
The Galactic Garden January 2, 1985

Memorable Moments

  • Fawlty Towers:
    • 1x06 - The Germans: When there is a fire drill in the hotel, a real fire breaks out in the kitchen where Sachs as Manuel is working. Manuel rushes out, screaming, "Is fire! Is fire!" But Basil Fawlty assumes Manuel misunderstands the fire drill and locks the poor waiter in the burning kitchen. When his panicked banging becomes too noisy, Basil lets the grateful and nearly unconscious waiter out of the kitchen and sees the flames.
    • 2x04 - The Kipper and the Corpse: Manuel is serving a particularly difficult guest who has a spoiled Shih Tzu with her in the dining room. He brings out a cushion and a saucer of milk for the dog, but when the woman tells him to "put it under him," Manuel leaves the milk under where the dog would sit. When at last he gets it worked out, the dog bites Manuel. When the dog later bites Polly, Manuel shields her from the vicious toy dog.

Awards and Accolades


  • Nominated: Best Light Entertainment Performance (1979)
Fawlty Towers


  • When he first received the role of Manuel in Fawlty Towers, he asked if Manuel could be German, as he could more easily do a German accent, because he was himself German. He claims John Cleese considered this suggestion for a moment before deciding the character should remain Spanish.
  • Was paid £700 for damages when the acids with which his jacket were treated to give the illusion of burning in the Fawlty Towers episode 1x06 - The Germans soaked through to his skin and caused severe burns. He claims the worst part was going back to work in a very physical stage farce later that night.
  • In the 1980s, he recorded four pop singles as Manuel, who was frequently shown playing the guitar on Fawlty Towers.
  • Claims to enjoy playing the villains. "If it's tempered with a little charm and enjoyment of his evil, that that's really quite nice to do. One of the most satisfying things to do is to play baddies. It's closer to my own character, really, I think."