PASSINGS: Rik Mayall, Alexander Imich

Rik Mayall, 56, was known to U.S. audiences for the cult film 'Drop Dead Fred'

Rik Mayall, 56, one of a generation of performers that injected post-punk energy into British comedy, died Monday at his London home, according to the Brunskill Management firm.

The cause of death was not immediately disclosed. London's Metropolitan Police force said officers had been called to the house by an ambulance service but that the death was not believed to be suspicious.

In the 1980s Mayall was part of the Comic Strip, an influential group of alternative young comics that included Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Mayall's writing and performing partner, Adrian Edmondson.

He was best known for co-writing and performing in "The Young Ones," a sitcom about slovenly students that was much loved by those it satirized.

On television he memorably played Conservative politician Alan B'stard in the sitcom "The New Statesman" and lecherous Lord Flashheart in the comedy classic "Blackadder."

He and Edmondson also created and starred in "Bottom," a surreally violent slapstick series about two unemployed slobs.

His film appearances included the title role in the 1991 fantasy "Drop Dead Fred" — which gained him a U.S. cult following — and 1999 British comedy "Guest House Paradiso."

"There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing," Edmondson said. "They were some of the most carefree, stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard."

Mayall was born March 7, 1958, in Matching Tye, England, where his parents were drama teachers.

In 1998 Mayall was on life support and in a coma for several days after an all-terrain vehicle accident.

Alexander Imich

World's oldest man was 111

Alexander Imich, 111, a retired chemist and parapsychologist from Poland who had recently been the world's oldest man, died Sunday at his home in Manhattan, according to his niece, Karen Bogen.

Imich attributed his longevity to good genetics, proper nutrition and exercise, and the fact that he and his wife, who died in 1986, did not have children, said Bogen.

Michael Mannion, a longtime friend, said Imich's "enormous curiosity and ability to turn even great adversity into something positive were important factors in his long life. These qualities were evident even in his last weeks and days of life."

At the age of 93, Imich enrolled for three years at the IM School of Healing Arts, which offers programs in self-awareness and hands-on healing, "because he wanted to learn more about love," said Mannion.

Imich detailed the work of a Polish medium known as Matylda S. in his book "Incredible Tales of the Paranormal," which was published in 1995 when he was 92.

Imich was born in 1903 in a town in Poland that was then part of Russia. He and his wife fled after the Nazis invaded in 1939. They moved to the United States in 1951.

Guinness World Records awarded Imich the title of oldest living man on May 8. The group is investigating the claim that 111-year-old Sakari Momoi of Japan is now the world's oldest man.

The world's oldest person is a woman, 116-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan.

Times wire reports

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