A sad day for British TV fans


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Oct 11, 2008
Grand Rapids, MI
Wendy Richard, "Miss Brahms" from Are You Being Served has died from Breast Cancer at age 65.


EastEnders&squo; Wendy Richard dies aged 65 | The Courier-Mail

FORMER EastEnders actress Wendy Richard has died at the age of 65. The much-loved actress passed away this morning at the Harley Street Clinic in central London with her husband John Burns at her bedside.

Richard had been suffering from breast cancer, the third time she had fought the disease.

Her agent, Kevin Francis, said: 'She was incredibly brave and retained her sense of humour right to the end.'

Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, led the tributes, saying she had lit up living rooms for so many British households and was like a member of the family.

He said: 'Wendy Richard is going to be incredibly missed by the BBC and by our audiences.'

Her former East-Enders co-star Bill Treacher, who played her on-screen husband Arthur Fowler, said he was greatly saddened by news of her death. He said: 'I am very, very saddened at this news. Wendy and I worked together for 11 years and in all that time never quarrelled, we were both totally professional and I am truly saddened to hear this news.'

Fellow EastEnders stalwart June Brown, whose character Dot Cotton formed a double act with Pauline, said: ' I loved working with her. We were good partners, we really enjoyed our scenes and that's why I missed her so much when she left. She was a very kind woman.'

Her Are You Being Served? co-star Mollie Sugden, 86, added: 'She was a daughter I never had and I shall never stop missing her. 'She lived on in the hearts of so many people who were entertained by her talent and warmed by her charm.'

Wendy's friend Esther Rantzen said: 'She was courageous, honest, a brilliant talent and she will be greatly missed. 'She was a woman of huge integrity, she was a terrific, terrific lady. She will be missed by a huge number of fans because she has given us so much pleasure over many years.'

She had battled breast cancer twice before in the mid-Nineties and 2002 and was determined to fight the disease again. The cancer went into remission after years of treatment, but returned with a vengeance in an aggressive form. Wendy herself revealed in October that her condition was terminal.

She said: 'I went for my usual annual check-up and they found that some cancer cells had returned in my left armpit. The drugs I was given to help had an adverse effect. If anything, they did more damage than good so my health has really deteriorated. Now I have a cancerous growth on my right kidney and the cancer has spread to my bones. Twice I've had breast cancer but this is different. It's more aggressive this time, unfortunately, and has spread to the top of my spine and left ribs.'

She revealed she had already written her will and made detailed plans for her own funeral, including the music she'd like played and who she would like to attend.
She said: 'You've got to be practical about these things. I want all my affairs to be in order.'
She married John, her partner of 13 years, shortly afterwards on October 13.

She had been married three times before, to Leonard Blach (1972-1974), Will Thorpe (1980-1984) and Paul Glorney (1990-1994).

Born Wendy Emerton in Middlesborough in 1943, the star was brought up in London from the age of five, where she went on to hone her acting skills at the Italia Conti Academy stage school.

Tragically, an 11-year-old Wendy found her father Henry's body after he committed suicide, while her mother Beatrice died in 1972. Writing of her father's death in her 2000 autobiography Wendy Richard... No S: My Life Story, Wendy wrote: 'It was one of the saddest and also one of the most frightening days in my life.'

She landed her first TV role when she was 17 appearing alongside Sammy Davis Jnr in music show Sammy Meets The Girls. She first became familiar to TV audiences playing Joyce Harker, a regular in the BBC's 1960s soap The Newcomers. She also had roles in Dad's Army, Up Pompeii! and The Likely Lads.

Wendy also appeared in Carry On films, alongside a woman she would later cross swords with in EastEnders, Barbara Windsor.

But it was her role as Cockney shop assistant Miss Brahms in the Seventies sitcom Are You Being Served? which proved to be her big break. Richard joined the cast of EastEnders when it began in 1985 and remained a firm fixture as Walford matriarch Pauline Fowler until she quit the show in 2006.

Wendy revealed she left because she was unhappy with the plotline - Pauline had to remarry following the death of her husband Arthur.

She said: 'I couldn't believe in what they wanted me to do and unless I can find some truth in what I am doing, I cannot play it. Pauline remarrying was wrong. Some women never remarry. My mother never remarried after Daddy died. I always had it in my heart that Arthur was Pauline's husband and that was that.'

Last year, Wendy returned to TV in Benidorm, playing a wheelchair-bound love rival of tanned pensioner Madge.

She was awarded the MBE for services to television in 2000
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