Radio Sandwell News

Actress Lynda Bellingham dies aged 66

2014-10-20 12:32:36

Linda Bellingham

British actress and presenter Lynda Bellingham, who had cancer, has died aged 66, her agent has confirmed.

Sue Latimer said she died yesterday "in her husband's arms".

The actress, best known for her long-running role as a mother in the Oxo TV adverts, had been battling colon cancer since being diagnosed in July 2013.

Bellingham said she had planned to end her treatment to limit her family's suffering after it spread to her lungs and liver.

In a statement on behalf of Bellingham's family, Mrs Latimer said: "Lynda died peacefully in her husband's arms yesterday at a London hospital.

"Her family would like to thank the nurses and staff for their tremendous care and support."

She added: "Actor, writer and presenter - to the end Lynda was a consummate professional."

Bellingham was also known for shows such as All Creatures Great and Small and in recent years was on the panel of ITV's Loose Women.

Linda Bellingham
Bellingham's most famous role was as the much-loved mum in the Oxo adverts from 1983

Speaking earlier this month, Bellingham said her decision to give up chemotherapy was "a huge relief because I took back some control of myself".

Her death comes just 10 days after her memoir There's Something I've Been Dying To Tell You was published.

In it, she wrote that she was planning to end her treatment in November and "would love to make one more Christmas, if possible".

She also wrote that the chemotherapy was so strong her body was "protesting", and she was in pain and discomfort.

Linda Bellingham
She played Helen Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small, alongside Christopher Timothy

Christopher Timothy, who starred opposite Bellingham in All Creatures Great and Small, was among those paying tribute, describing the actress as "a real friend".

"She was a life force. She was funny, she was loyal, talented and a great mum," he told the BBC.

"On set, she was 'one of the boys' really - she was naughty and funny. We've all been expecting it, but it is so unjust she didn't make her last Christmas as was her intention."

He added: "Her honesty and her upfrontness was exactly what one knew and what you expected, but [her honesty about her illness] made it more painful."

Michael Redfern, who played Bellingham's TV husband in the Oxo commercials that became a national institution, said "everyone liked her".

"I think she was just normal, I think that's all it was," he said. "She was like the lady next door, the wife, your mother. She had everything, just a very open person."

Kaye Adams was one of her co-presenters on Loose Women and said Bellingham would be remembered as "honest, generous, kind, courageous, intelligent, thoughtful".

Adams said: "She was fun - one of those people who when she walked into a room everything lit up.

"I fear going into cliches but in this case it's absolutely accurate and true. She just had such an energy and dynamism."

Denise Welch, who also presented on Loose Women, said on Twitter: "I loved my friend Lynda. I will miss her so much. xx"

Linda Bellingham

Diana Moran, who starred with Bellingham in the stage production of Calendar Girls in the West End, told the BBC she was "the ultimate professional."

She said: "She was generous. She was constant. She was an absolute delight to be with. But so so brave with the way that she's coped with her cancer.

"We were all just keeping our fingers crossed for her but this insidious, miserable disease sadly finally got her."

Emotional farewell

Bellingham was born in Montreal, Canada, but grew up near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire after being adopted.

She studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama and went on to land roles including Helen Herriot in All Creatures Great And Small and the title role in sitcom Faith In The Future.

The actress, who had two sons and was married three times, was awarded an OBE in 2013 for her charity work.

Bellingham's pre-recorded farewell appearance on Loose Women is due to be screened on Wednesday.

During an emotional appearance on the show recently, she told viewers: "Grasp it all, don't be afraid, enjoy the bits you can and tell your family you love them while you have the chance."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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