SIMON DEE, the British TV star who inspired comic character AUSTIN POWERS, has died at the age of 74.

Dee, real name Cyril Nicholas Henty-Dodd, passed away on Sunday (30Aug09) – one day after revealing he had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer.

He was one of the biggest stars on U.K. TV in the Swinging Sixties, capturing the spirit of the age with his popular Dee Time programme.

Dee interviewed guests such as Sammy Davis Jr., Charlton Heston and John Lennon on the pop music TV show, which was watched by 18 million people from 1967-69.

He also landed cameo roles in films including The Italian Job and Doctor In Trouble, but later disappeared from the airwaves after leaving the BBC when corporation bosses failed to meet his salary demands.

Comedian Mike Myers’ has revealed that Dee’s “grooviness” inspired his movie character Austin Powers.

Dee, who was married three times, is survived by four children and four grandchildren.