This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations . (September 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Hird in 1974
|Died||15 March 2003 91) (aged|
|See here and here|
|Television||Last of the Summer Wine , In Loving Memory , Hallelujah!|
(m. 1937;his death 1994)
Dame Thora Hird, – 15 March 2003) was an English actress and comedienne of stage and screen, presenter and writer. In a career spanning over 70 years, she appeared in more than 100 film and television roles, becoming a household name and a British institution. A three-time winner of the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress, she won for Talking Heads: A Cream Cracker Under the Settee (1988), Talking Heads: Waiting for the Telegram (1998) and Lost for Words (1999). Her film credits included The Love Match (1955), The Entertainer (1960), A Kind of Loving (1962) and The Nightcomers (1971).(28 May 1911
Hird was born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. Her father James Henry Hird married her mother Jane Mary Mayor in 1904.
Her family background was largely theatrical: her mother had been an actress, while her father managed a number of entertainment venues in Morecambe, including the Royalty Theatre where she made her first appearance, and the Central Pier. Thora first appeared on stage at the age of two months in a play her father was managing. She worked at the local Co-operative store before joining the Morecambe Repertory Theatre.
Hird often described her father, who initially did not want her to be an actress, as her sternest critic and attributed much of her talent as an actress and comedian to his guidance. In 1944 she made her West End debut in the Esther McCracken play No Medals .
Although Hird left Morecambe in the late 1940s, she retained her affection for the town, referring to herself as a "sand grown 'un", the colloquial term for anyone born in Morecambe.
Initially, she made regular appearances in films, including the wartime propaganda film Went the Day Well? (1942, known as 48 Hours in the USA), in which she is shown wielding a rifle to defend a house from German paratroopers. She worked with the British film comedian Will Hay and featured in The Entertainer (1960), which starred Laurence Olivier, as well as A Kind of Loving (1962) with Alan Bates and June Ritchie.
Hird gained her highest profile in television comedy, notably the sitcoms Meet the Wife (1963–66), In Loving Memory (1979–86), Hallelujah! (1983–84), and for nearly two decades as Edie Pegden in Last of the Summer Wine (1986–2003). However, she played a variety of roles, including the nurse in Romeo and Juliet , and won BAFTA Best Actress awards for her roles in two of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues.
She starred as Captain Emily Ridley in the sitcom Hallelujah! (1983–84) about the Salvation Army, a movement for which she had a soft spot throughout her life. Hird also portrayed Mrs Speck, the housekeeper of the Mayor of Gloucester in The Tailor of Gloucester (1989).
In 1993 she played Annie Longden, mother of Deric Longden in Wide-Eyed and Legless (known as The Wedding Gift outside the UK) and reprised her role in the 1999 TV film Lost for Words , which won her a BAFTA for Best Actress.
Hird was a committed Christian, hosting the religious programme Praise Be!, a spin off from Songs of Praise on the BBC. Her work for charity and on television in spite of old age and ill health made her an institution. Her advertisements for Churchill stairlifts also kept her in the public eye.[ citation needed ]
She was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1983 Birthday Honours and raised to Dame Commander (DBE) in the 1993 Birthday Honours. She received an honorary D.Litt. from Lancaster University in 1989.
In December 1998, using a wheelchair, Hird played a brief but energetic cameo role as the mother of Dolly on Dinnerladies , a sarcastic character who was particularly bitter towards her daughter.
Her final work was for BBC Radio 7, recorded and broadcast in 2002: a monologue written for her by Alan Bennett entitled The Last of the Sun, in which she played a forthright, broad-minded woman, immobile in an old people's home but still able to take a stand against the censorious and politically correct attitudes of her own daughter.
She was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions: in January 1964 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews, and in December 1996, when Michael Aspel surprised her while filming on location for Last of the Summer Wine .
Hird had a heart bypass operation in 1992. She suffered severe arthritis and used a wheelchair in her later life. She died on 15 March 2003 aged 91.
A memorial service was held on 15 September 2003 at Westminster Abbey attended by more than 2000 people, including Alan Bennett, Sir David Frost, Melvyn Bragg and Victoria Wood.
On 7 July 2019 a commemorative blue plaque was installed to Thora Hird by The Theatre and Film Guild of Great Britain and America, at the Bayswater home where she lived for over 60 years.
Hird married musician James Scott in 1937. They had a daughter, actress Janette Scott, in 1938. Hird was for a time mother-in-law to jazz icon Mel Tormé. Hird was widowed in 1994, having been married for 57 years.
|1942||Black Sheep of Whitehall||Joyce|
|1942||Went the Day Well?||Ivy Dawking|
|1942||Go to Blazes||Elsie||Short|
|1944||Two Thousand Women||Mrs. Burtshaw|
|1947||Katy's Love Affair||Maud|
|1948||My Brother Jonathan||Ada|
|1948||The Weaker Sex||Mrs. Gaye|
|1949||Once a Jolly Swagman||Ma Fox|
|1949||Lost Daughter||Mrs. Skinner|
|1949||Fools Rush In||Mrs. Coot|
|1949||A Boy, a Girl, and a Bike||Mrs. Bates|
|1949||Madness of the Heart||Rosa|
|1949||Maytime in Mayfair||Janet|
|1949||The Cure for Love||Mrs. Dorbell|
|1949||Boys in Brown||Mrs. Knowles|
|1950||Once a Sinner||Mrs. James|
|1952||The Frightened Man||Vera|
|1952||The Hundred Hour Hunt||Mrs. Cornelius|
|1952||Time, Gentlemen, Please!||Alice Crouch|
|1953||The Long Memory||Mrs. Pewsey|
|1953||The Great Game||Miss Rawlings|
|1953||Street Corner||Mrs. Perkins|
|1953||Turn the Key Softly||Mrs. Rowan|
|1953||Personal Affair||Mrs. Usher|
|1953||A Day to Remember||Mrs. Trott|
|1953||The Love Match||Sal Brown|
|1954||Don't Blame the Stork||Agnes O'Connor|
|1954||Cocktails in the Kitchen||Mrs. Doyle|
|1954||Tiger by the Tail||Mary|
|1955||The Love Match||Sal Brown|
|1955||The Quatermass Xperiment||Rosemary 'Rosie' Elizabeth Wrigley|
|1955||Simon and Laura||Jessie|
|1955||One Good Turn||Cook|
|1956||Women Without Men||Granny Rafferty|
|1956||Sailor Beware!||Mrs. Lack|
|1956||Home and Away||Margie|
|1957||The Good Companions||Mrs. Oakroyd|
|1957||These Dangerous Years||Mrs. Larkin|
|1958||Further Up the Creek||Mrs. Galloway|
|1958||A Clean Sweep||Vera Watson||Short|
|1960||The Entertainer||Ada Lapford|
|1961||Over the Odds||Mrs. Carter|
|1962||A Kind of Loving||Mrs. Rothwell|
|1962||Term of Trial||Mrs. Taylor|
|1963||Bitter Harvest||Mrs. Jessup|
|1964||Rattle of a Simple Man||Mrs. Winthram|
|1970||Some Will, Some Won't||Agnes Russell|
|1971||The Nightcomers||Mrs. Grose|
|1988||Consuming Passions||Mrs. Gordon|
|1999||Julie and the Cadillacs||Julie's grandmother|
|1947||Mary Rose||Mrs. Otery||TV film|
|1949||The Winslow Boy||Violet||TV film|
|1951||Sunday Night Theatre||Anna Priashkina||Episode: "The Bachelor"|
|1951||What Happens to Love||Mrs. Rowbotham||TV film|
|1955||The Queen Came By||Emmie Slee||TV film|
|1955||The Adventures of Robin Hood||Ada||Episode: "A Husband for Marian"|
|1956||Armchair Theatre||Momma Brodsky||Episode: "The Same Sky"|
|1958||Saturday Playhouse||Aggie Thompson||Episode: "So Many Children"|
|1959||Blackpool Show Parade||Mrs. McTaggart||Episode: "Happy Days"|
|1960||Bootsie and Snudge||Emily||Episode: "Johnson's Retirement"|
|1961||ITV Playhouse||Helen Curvis||Episode: "Hi Diddle Diddle"|
|1963||Z-Cars||Mrs. Edwards||Episode: "Nothing Serious"|
|1963||Drama 61-67||Mrs. Hope||Episode: "Drama '63: Albert Hope"|
|1963||Comedy Playhouse||Thora Blacklock||Episode: "The Bed"|
|1963–1966||Meet the Wife||Thora Blacklock||Main role|
|1964||First Night||Queenie||Episode: "All Things Bright and Beautiful"|
|1964||Festival||Mrs. Baines||Episode: "Say Nothing"|
|1965||My Perfect Husband||Thora||TV film|
|1966||The Wednesday Play||Blanche Hoskins||Episode: "Who's a Good Boy Then?"|
|1966||Dixon of Dock Green||Alice Leggett||Episode: "Face at the Window"|
|1968–69||The First Lady||Sarah Danby||Main role|
|1969||ITV Sunday Night Theatre||Mrs. Ogden||Episode: "It Calls for a Great Deal of Love"|
|1969–70||Ours Is a Nice House||Thora Parker||TV series|
|1971||Seasons of the Year||Widow Butley||Episode: "The Three Graces"|
|1971||Stage 2||Mrs. Hardcastle||Episode: "She Stoops to Conquer"|
|1971–72, 1977, 1982||Play for Today||Gwen, Doris, Olive Major, Aunty Kitty||Episodes: "The Fox Trot", "The Villa Maroc", "The Mayor's Charity", "Intensive Care"|
|1974||Billy Liar||Miss Duggins||Episode: "Billy and the Bed-Sit"|
|1975||Softly, Softly: Taskforce||Mary Meegan||Episode: "Dorothy's Birthday"|
|1975||Play of the Month||Clare Soppitt||Episode: "When We Are Married"|
|1977||The Boys and Mrs B||Mrs. Battley||TV short|
|1977||Young at Heart||Ethel Collyer||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1978||Me! I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf||Mrs. Hopkins||TV film|
|1979||Thomas & Sarah||Mrs. Entwistle||Episode: "Made in Heaven"|
|1979–1986||In Loving Memory||Ivy Unsworth||Main role|
|1980–1982||Flesh and the Blood||Mabel Brassington||TV series|
|1983||Objects of Affection||Elizabeth Mary Rhodes||Episode: "Say Something Happened"|
|1983–84||Hallelujah!||Capt. Emily Ridley||Main role|
|1986–87, 1988–2003||Last of the Summer Wine||Edith 'Edie' Pegden||Regular role|
|1988, 1998||Talking Heads||Doris, Violet||Episodes: "A Cream Cracker Under the Settee", "Waiting for the Telegram"|
|1989||The Tailor of Gloucester||Mrs. Speck||TV film|
|1989–90||All Creatures Great and Small||Mrs. Clarke||Episodes: "The Best Time", "Promises to Keep"|
|1990||The Tale of Little Pig Robinson||Old Betsy||TV film|
|1991||Perfect Scoundrels||Martha||Episode: "Grandmother's Footsteps"|
|1992||The Good Guys||Edna Wood||Episode: "Her Finest Hour"|
|1992||Screen Two||Jean Taylor||Episode: "Memento Mori"|
|1993||Wide-Eyed and Legless (known as The Wedding Gift outside of the UK)||Annie Longden|
|1993||Goggle Eyes||Mrs. Harrington||Episode: "1.1"|
|1994||Pat and Margaret||Jim's mother|
|1994||Under the Hammer||Nanny Tucker||Episode: "The Spectre at the Feast"|
|1994||Heartbeat||Hannah Stockdale||Episode: "Lost and Found"|
|1995, 1999||The Queen's Nose||Postmistress||Episodes: "1.1", "1.4", "Harmony's Return"|
|1999||The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything||Ida||Episode: "Philosophy of a Hairdresser"|
|1999||Hilltop Hospital||Gracey Greyshell||Episode: "Gracey Greyshell's Last Day"|
|1999||Lost for Words||Annie Longden||TV film|
Dame Margaret Natalie Smith is an English actress. She has had an extensive, varied career on stage, film, and television, spanning over 68 years. Smith has appeared in more than 60 films, and is one of Britain's most recognisable actresses. She was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 for contributions to the performing arts, and a Companion of Honour in 2014 for services to drama.
Dame Penelope Anne Constance Keith, is an English actress, active in all genres, including radio, stage, television and film and primarily known for her roles in the British sitcoms The Good Life and To the Manor Born. She succeeded Lord Olivier as president of the Actors' Benevolent Fund after his death in 1989, and was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to the arts and to charity.
Dame Julia Mary Walters is an English actress, writer and comedian. She is the recipient of four BAFTA TV Awards, two BAFTA Film Awards, a BAFTA Fellowship, and a Golden Globe. She has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, in the categories of Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
Dame Katherine Patricia Routledge, is a British actress, comedian and singer. She is best known for her role as Hyacinth Bucket in the BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances (1990–1995), for which she was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Light Entertainment Performance in 1992 and 1993. Her film appearances include To Sir, with Love (1967) and Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968).
Talking Heads is a series of dramatic monologues written for BBC television by British playwright Alan Bennett. The two series were first broadcast in 1988 and 1998, and have since been broadcast on BBC Radio and included on the A-level and GCSE English Literature syllabus.
Patricia Amy Rowlands was an English actress who is best remembered for her roles in the Carry On films series, and as Betty Lewis in the popular ITV Thames sitcom Bless This House, and as Alice Meredith in the Yorkshire Television sitcom Hallelujah!.
Gordon Wharmby was a British television actor. He was best known for the role of Wesley Pegden on Last of the Summer Wine.
Sophie Okonedo is an English film, theatre and television actress. She began her film career in the British coming-of-age drama Young Soul Rebels (1991) before appearing in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) and Stephen Frears's Dirty Pretty Things (2002).
Rosemary Anne Leach was a British stage, television and film actress. She won the 1982 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a New Play for 84, Charing Cross Road and was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her roles in the films That'll Be the Day (1973) and A Room with a View (1986).
Siân Thomas is a Welsh actress who trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She is known both for her work on stage and for her television appearances. Her voice is known to listeners both for her poetry readings on Radio 3 and for her audiobooks.
Pat and Margaret is a British television film written by comedian Victoria Wood. The story follows sisters Margaret, a cook, and Pat, a successful actress in the United States, after they are reunited on a television programme after spending 27 years apart. It stars Wood and her frequent comedy partner Julie Walters in the title roles, and features other past collaborators of Wood, including Dame Thora Hird, Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston. First aired in 1994 on BBC One, the film was directed by Gavin Millar and produced by Ruth Caleb.
Wide-Eyed and Legless is a 1993 made-for-TV British drama film directed by Richard Loncraine.
Ruth Negga is an Ethiopian-Irish actress known for the AMC television series Preacher and the film Loving.
In Loving Memory is a British period sitcom set in an undertakers business that starred Thora Hird and Christopher Beeny. A pilot with Marjorie Rhodes in the Thora Hird role was transmitted in 1969 by Thames Television, who rejected the idea before it was finally accepted by Yorkshire Television nearly 10 years later, where it ran for a further five series between 21 May 1979 and 27 March 1986.
Deric Francis Longden was an English writer and autobiographer.
Hallelujah! was a British sitcom made by Yorkshire Television for the ITV network and was broadcast from 29 April 1983 to 21 December 1984.
"A Cream Cracker Under The Settee" is a dramatic monologue written by Alan Bennett in 1987 for television, as part of his Talking Heads series for the BBC. The series became very popular, moving onto BBC Radio, international theatre, becoming one of the best-selling audio book releases of all time and included as part of both the A-level and GCSE English syllabus. It was the sixth and final episode of the first series of Talking Heads.
Lost for Words is a British TV film which premiered on ITV on 3 January 1999. It was adapted from his autobiographical book of the same title by Deric Longden and directed by Alan J.W. Bell. It was a sequel to Longden's earlier autobiographical film Wide-Eyed and Legless. It dealt with Deric's mother Annie, her decline into dementia and how Deric and his wife Aileen coped with this. For her performance, Hird won the 2000 BAFTA for Best Actress, the 1999 RTS Award for Best Actor - Female, and the 1999 National Television Award for Most Popular Actress. The programme also won a 1999 Peabody Award and the 1999 International Emmy for Best Drama.
Dame Philippa Jill Olivier Harris, known as Pippa Harris, is a British film and television producer/executive. She co-founded Neal Street Productions in 2003 with Sam Mendes and Caro Newling.
Aileen Armitage is a British writer and author of more than thirty-five historical novels. She is partially-sighted and legally blind.