Matt Lucas quits show after ex's suicide

Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:33am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British comedian Matt Lucas will not return to his role in a West End play which he temporarily quit following the suicide of his ex-partner, producers said on Monday. Lucas, 35, will be replaced by Con O'Neill in the role of Kenneth Halliwell in "Prick Up Your Ears" at London's Comedy Theater.

"Given the sad news that Matt Lucas has recently received, and the role he was playing, it is understandable that he could not return to play Halliwell at this time and our thoughts are with him," the play's producers said in a statement.

Lucas' former partner Kevin McGee killed himself, reportedly hours after posting a message on Facebook saying "Kevin McGee thinks that death is much better than life."

Lucas and TV producer McGee, 32, "married" in 2006 but broke up in 2008 in what was described at the time as the first celebrity gay couple to separate since Britain introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 2005.

According to British media, McGee was found hanged at his apartment in Edinburgh last week. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Lucas was playing the part of Halliwell in Prick Up Your Ears, based on the true story of how playwright Joe Orton was murdered in 1967 by his lover Halliwell, who then committed suicide.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)