"EastEnders" actress Wendy Richard dies

Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:55am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British television star Wendy Richard, most famous for her portrayal of Pauline Fowler in the hit soap opera "EastEnders," died on Thursday aged 65, her agent said.

British media reported that the actress had twice fought bouts of breast cancer before the disease returned in an aggressive form and spread to other parts of her body.

She revealed in a newspaper interview in October that the disease was terminal and soon after she married long-term partner John Burns. She had married three times previously.

Richard's breakthrough television role was in 1970s sitcom "Are You Being Served?," in which she played a sales assistant with a heavy East London accent.

She joined EastEnders when the BBC program began in 1985 and remained until 2006, when her character died. Richard said that her departure was over objections to the storyline.

Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, said: "Wendy Richard is going to be incredibly missed by the BBC and by our audiences."

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

(To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at blogs.reuters.com/fanfare)

<p>British actress Wendy Richard smiles to photographers after she received her MBE award from Queen Elizabeth II at London's Buckingham Palace November 28, 2000. REUTERS/Pool</p>