Another Hollywood icon has just passed away.
Actor Simon Shelton Barnes passed away just four days after he celebrated his 52nd birthday. Simon was a trained ballet dancer and choreographer which ended up helping him play his biggest role on TV which he was most known for and loved by children for.
You might not recognize Simon Shelton Barnes face but you know and remember one of the most iconic characters that he played. Simon was best known for playing Tinky Winky on the children’s TV show Teletubbies. Simon’s character was one of the most controversial Teletubbies because people everywhere thought there was a hidden meaning behind the character that he played but that didn’t intimidate him from playing the character. Simon played Tinky Winky between 1998-2001 after the firing of the original actor Dave Thompson.
People reported, Simon Shelton Barnes, a British actor best known for playing Tinky Winky in the children’s TV show Teletubbies, has died. He was 52.
Family members and co-stars took to social media to pay tribute to the actor, who The Independent reports was a trained ballet dancer and choreographer before taking on the role of the purple Teletubby known for carrying a magic bag.
Barnes’ niece and The Inbetweeners actress Emily Atack paid tribute to him on Instagram with a black-and-white headshot.
“My wonderful uncle Simon Barnes has been taken from us all so suddenly,” she wrote. “The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet. Loved by all who knew him, and will be forever.”
The Teletubbies‘ official Twitter page also honored Barnes.
“Very sad to hear that actor Simon Shelton, who played Tinky Winky in the late 90’s, has sadly passed away,” they captioned a scene from the show. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Big hugs.”
John Simmit, who appeared alongside Barnes as green Teletubby Dipsy, also remembered his co-star on Twitter.
“What a week! RIP Simon Shelton aka Tinky Winky: remembering the many good times,” he said. “Rest easy.”
In response to a tweet, Simmit added, “Lots of messaging between cast & crew as we became a tight bunch over 6 years on location. We’ll give him an appropriate send-off in a couple of weeks.”
Speaking to the BBC in 2008, Barnes said he had no idea that the children’s show would turn out to be such a hit.
He shared, “I didn’t know it would be as big as it was, but I did know as soon as I started working on it that it had something special.”
Barnes also disputed rumors that Tinky Winky was gay, saying, “People always ask me if Tinky Winky is gay. But the character is supposed to be a 3-year-old so the question is really quite silly,” according to The Guardian.
His cause of death is still unknown and Simon leaves behind 3 children. His funeral will be held on February 7 and his family has asked everyone attending the funeral to wear bright colors to help remember him. Only time will tell what his sudden cause of his death was and if he had any unknown struggles that were the cause of it. It is truly tragic when anyone passes away so prematurely like this, regardless of the situation.
The “ultimate equalizer” doesn’t discriminate as death can’t be spared by living in Hollywood or any level of celebrity, success, or money.