Soap queen Wendy Richard dies

Actress Wendy Richard died today after a battle with cancer, her agent said.

Actress Wendy Richard died today after a battle with cancer, her agent said.

The former EastEnder died in the Harley Street Clinic in London with her husband John Burns by her side. She was 65.

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

Richard will be best remembered as Pauline Fowler in EastEnders, a part she played for 21 years.

But before joining the soap she was already well-known for her role as Miss Brahms in the hit sitcom 'Are You Being Served?'.

The actress had fought to overcome cancer twice previously, first in the mid-1990s and then in 2002.

After lengthy treatment her cancer went into remission, but last year she found the disease had returned in an aggressive form.

It spread to her kidneys and bones, and in October she revealed that the cancer was terminal.

She married her long-term partner Mr Burns, her fourth husband, at a star-studded ceremony in London’s Mayfair in October.

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

He said: “I send all my love to John and her immediate family.”

Comedian Ronnie Corbett said Richard's work would remain as a lasting tribute to her.

“What a career she had, from even before Are You Being Served?,” he said.

“I’m very sorry to hear she’s gone.”

Terry Wogan said the star would be remembered as one of the greats of British television. “In the 60s and 70s, she was the queen of the sitcom and I’m sorry to hear she’s gone.”

Maureen Lipman added: “She seemed like a really feisty woman. I’m very sorry. She was a very familiar face on our TV screens and too young to go.”

Chris Tarrant said the death was “awful news”.

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

He said that she lit up living rooms for so many families and she was like a member of the family.

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