Actor Joy Mukherjee dies at 73

Mumbai: Veteran actor Joy Mukherjee, who starred in several Bollywood hits in the `60s, passed away this morning after prolonged illness at a hospital here. He was 73.

"He passed away today morning at 9.30 am. He died due to prolonged illness and old age. His lungs were not functioning and he could not breathe, hence he was on ventilator. His condition was critical since last three days," Joy Mukherhee`s spokesperson told PTI.

The actor was admitted to the Leelavati hospital on Monday. "He was running with high fever and was unconscious and his overall condition was critical since three-four days," spokesperson said.

Mukherjee comes from a film family. His father Sashadhar Mukherjee was married to legendary actor Ashok Kumar`s sister Sati Devi and was the co-founder of Filmalaya Studios. His brothers are Deb Mukherjee and Shomu Mukherjee. Shomu is married to actress Tanuja & their daughters are actresses Kajol and Tanisha.

Incidently, his father was skeptical about Mukherjee`s movie career. He agreed only after Agha jani Kashmeri convinced him. Agha jani wrote the script of 1"Love in Simla", Mukherjee`s debut film opposite Sadhana in 1960.

He went on to delivered several hit films like hits like "Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon", "Love in Tokyo", "Ziddi", "Ek Musafir Ek Hasina" to name a few.

After his career dried up with the emergence of stars like Dharmendra, Jeetendra and Rajesh Khanna, Mukherjee ventured into direction with films like "Love in Bombay" (1974), "Chhaila Babu" (1977), "Saanjh Ki Bela" (1981) and "Umeed" (1989).

The actor is survived by wife Neelam and they have three children – two sons and a daughter. Veteran actor Dilip Kumar with his wife Saira Banu and music composer-singer Bappi Lahiri had visited the ailing actor-filmmaker on Thursday.