26/02/2009

EastEnders Actress Wendy Richard Dies

The former EastEnders actress Wendy Richard has died of cancer, aged 65.

The star, who played Pauline Fowler in the BBC One soap opera, died in the Harley Street Clinic in London with her husband John Burns by her side. Her agent Kevin Francis said: "She was incredibly brave and retained her sense of humour right to the end."

Richard was suffering from an aggressive, terminal form of cancer. It spread to her kidneys and bones, and in October she revealed that the cancer was terminal.

She married her long-term partner Burns, in a ceremony later that month.

Presenter Dale Winton, who knew the actress for many years said he was "saddened" by the tragic news.

He said: "I knew her as a family friend first since I was a little boy and worked with her many times.
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"I'm very saddened to hear the news, she was a real fighter and actually a very kind and funny lady in her own right. My thoughts are with her family, she will be missed."

Minder star Shane Ritchie, who worked alongside Richard on EastEnders playing Alfie Moon until 2005, also said he was, "absolutely devastated" by news of her death.

Richard's career on British television spanned five decades, since her first appearance in 1961 in the series 'Stranger of the Shore'.

She went on to play Joyce Harker in the BBC's 1960's soap opera 'The Newcomers', before she became a household name playing Miss Brahm's on 'Are You Being Served?'.

In 2000 Richard was awarded the MBE for services to television and in 2007 she was given a British Soap Award for Lifetime Achievement for her role in EastEnders.

(JM/BMcC)

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