Bernard Cribbins, Beloved Doctor Who Star, Has Died At 93

Bernard Cribbins, one of the beloved supporting characters of the expansive "Doctor Who" universe, has died at age 93, according to BBC. The official "Doctor Who" Twitter account also memorialized the actor with a small tribute.

"We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Bernard Cribbins," the account posted in the early hours of the morning on July 28. "Known best to 'Doctor Who' fans as the Doctor's friend and Donna's grandad Wilfred Mott, Bernard leaves behind a long legacy in film and TV."

Cribbins was due to reprise his role as the beloved companion Wilfred Mott, Catherine Tate's character's grandfather, in the "Doctor Who" 60th anniversary specials. He was previously seen filming scenes alongside Tate and David Tennant, so it is likely that this return to the role will serve as his final onscreen performance.

The actor's cause of death has not been specified.

Cribbins' legacy

The performer is perhaps best known for his work on or around the TARDIS, but he's had a storied career on stage and screen over the years. He started working in theatre at age 14 and made his West End debut in a 1956 production of "A Comedy of Errors." He released two comedy albums in 1963, both of which were produced by Beatles collaborator George Martin. In 1970, he starred in the classic film "The Railway Children."

In 2007, Cribbins was exposed to a younger audience when he appeared as Wilfred Mott in the "Doctor Who" Christmas special, "Voyage of the Damned." The U.K. native's first role in the "Who" universe was actually years prior in 1966. At the time, Peter Cushing played the Doctor and Cribbins starred alongside the time traveler in "Daleks Invasion: Earth 2150 AD." Cribbins almost played the iconic character himself in 1974, but the role ended up going to Tom Baker instead. After four decades away from the series, stepping into the Wilfred Mott part made him the one of the many performers to take part in the beloved sci-fi world as two separate characters.

In 2009, Cribbins was awarded a special BAFTA Award in honor of his contributions to children's film and television for his work as the narrator on the kid's show "The Wombles" from 1973 to 1975. Two years later, he was awarded an OBE. He was asked while still working in his late '80s if there was anything he still wanted to do with his career that he hadn't tried. "I'd still like to do a Western," he said, according to BBC. "I could play Clint Eastwood's dad!"

His wife, Gillian McBarnett, died in 2021.