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Alan Simpson in 2014.

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Justin Tallis/Press Association

Alan Simpson, a creator of the landmark British comedy series “Steptoe and Son,” died on Wednesday. He was 87.

His agent, Tessa Le Bars, said the cause was lung disease. She did not say where he died.

“Steptoe and Son” is best known to American audiences as the inspiration for the long-running sitcom “Sanford and Son,” adapted from the British series by Norman Lear. A show about father-and-son junk dealers, it starred Wilfrid Brambell — who played Paul McCartney’s grandfather in the Beatles’ first movie, “A Hard Day’s Night” — as the cantankerous father, the role played by Redd Foxx on “Sanford and Son.”

Mr. Simpson wrote “Steptoe and Son,” which made its debut in 1962 and ran until 1965 and again from 1970 to 1974, with his longtime writing partner, Ray Galton. The two had previously created the hit show “Hancock’s Half Hour” for the comedian Tony Hancock, which began on radio in 1954 before moving two years later to BBC television, where it ran until 1961.

Mr. Simpson, born in London, contracted tuberculosis as a teenager. He met Mr. Galton when they were both patients in a sanitarium and, according to their biography, began doing radio comedy as part of their occupational therapy.

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