Spike Milligan's widow dies

Renewed speculation about his will

Spike Milligan’s widow Shelagh has died at the age of 67.

The news is likely to prompt another look at the comedian’s contentious will, which left his entire estate to Shelagh, and nothing to his six children.

Disputes over the legacy have led to bitter animosity between Shelagh and his offspring. She particularly angered them three years ago, when she ‘disgracefully’ auctioned off £75,000 worth his mementos against their will, and despite vowing to act a lifelong ‘custodian’of the archive.

In 2005, three of his children failed in a legal attempt to revoke Milligan’s final will in favour of an earlier one, which gave them a share of the £500,000 family home in East Sussex, which was later sold by Shelagh.

Although Milligan had no children with Shelagh, their marriage lasted 25 years, and she nursed him through the long kidney illness from which he died in 2002, aged 83.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that Shelagh, a former BBC production assistant, is likely to be be buried next to Milligan in St Thomas’s churchyard in Winchelsea, East Sussex. His grave carries the words: ‘I told you I was ill’ in Gaelic – although it took two years for the plot to be marked because of the family feud.

Shelagh, who was 25 years younger than Spike, co-wrote two biographies of the former Goon after he died.

Published: 19 Jun 2011

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