Coronation Street star Liz Dawn dies

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Media captionSome of the memorable moments from Liz Dawn’s career as Vera Duckworth

Coronation Street legend Liz Dawn, who played Vera Duckworth in the soap for more than 30 years, has died.

Her family said they were “devastated” after the death of the “incredible” 77-year-old.

They added: “She has been the love, light and inspiration in our lives and we are bereft at her passing.”

Dawn died at her home, surrounded by her family, on Monday night. ITV said everyone at Coronation Street was “heartbroken” at the news.

They said in a statement: “We have been blessed to have Liz in our lives, as she was such a kind, considerate and caring friend and colleague.

“As Coronation Street’s Vera Duckworth for 34 years, Liz brought so much joy and happiness to so many. She was a wonderful actress who will forever be a true Coronation Street legend.”

Image copyright Granada
Image caption Liz Dawn with Bill Tarmey on Coronation Street in 1989

Vera was one of soap’s great matriarchs and her stormy relationship with husband Jack, played by Bill Tarmey, provided on-screen drama and humour for years. Her early years had also focused on her work at the factory with friends including Ivy Tilsley.

She played the role from 1974 until 2008, when an episode featuring Vera’s death attracted more than 12 million viewers. She had been diagnosed with emphysema in 2004.

Dawn said at the time of her exit from the show that she had a “marvellous” time playing Vera, and it had been “very emotional” filming her final scenes.

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Media captionCorrie stars Samia Longchambon and Alan Halsall pay tribute

She returned to the street in 2010, when she played her own ghost in the episode in which Jack Duckworth died, with the pair sharing a last dance together.

Corrie’s executive producer Kieran Roberts said: “Liz Dawn was a true Coronation Street legend, a brilliant actor and a wonderful person.

“Everyone lucky enough to have worked with Liz during her 34 years playing Corrie icon Vera Duckworth will remember her with huge affection.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dawn won a lifetime achievement award at the British Soap Awards in 2008

Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton described her as “a wonderful actress, a fascinating storyteller, a hilarious comedian and most importantly a brilliant friend”.

He said: “For many people of my generation, Jack and Vera WERE Coronation Street.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Liz Dawn received an MBE from the Queen in 2000

Former Coronation Street producer Mervyn Watson told BBC News: “She was big, she was colourful, and she was real. Those are the qualities in her character that came across on screen – for those reasons she was wonderfully theatrical.”

He said Vera and Jack’s relationship was “pure gold”, and that Dawn was “a joy to work with” and had a “big personality and a big heart”.

Watson added: “The main thing is, she was just so funny.”

‘Happy memories’

Labour MP Tracy Brabin, a former Coronation Street actress, told BBC News: “She was a legend and an icon, an incredible person to work with.

“Deeply authentic, a natural comedian and a heart as big as Manchester.”

Other co-stars also paid tribute, with Kevin Kennedy – who played Curly Watts – saying she made him laugh every time he saw her.

Current Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh said she would be “so missed”, while former Street star Jimi Mistry said he was “very sad” about her death.

Dawn was made an MBE in 2000 for services to charity, and commented: “What would our Jack say?”

She leaves four children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

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