Alexandra Bastedo: Actress best known for her role in the 1960s television sci-fi series The Champions dies

 

Alexandra Bastedo, the actress best known for her role in the 1960s television sci-fi series The Champions, has died following a long illness.

She was 67.

Mrs Bastedo, who had battled against cancer, had also starred on TV in Absolutely Fabulous, Boon and the Agatha Christie Hour.

Her beauty and talent on television, stage and film won her a legion of fans who paid tribute following her death today.

In later life, animal rights supporter Mrs Bastedo founded the ABC Animal Sanctuary near Pulborough, West Sussex, which announced her death.

The charity said on Twitter: "It is with great sadness that we announce that Alexandra Bastedo passed away this Sunday afternoon after a long illness aged 67. She will be sadly missed"

Mrs Bastedo had been married since 1980 to distinguished theatre producer and director, Patrick Garland, until his death following a long illness at the age of 78 in April last year.

The couple married at Chichester Cathedral, and after his death she paid tribute to him as a "wonderful man" who had staunchly supported her animal charity.

From a young age, Mrs Bastedo's love for animals shone through. She would spend her spare time as a child at her local vets helping to clean and look after animals.

She harboured ambitions to become a vet, but at the age of 16 she was discovered by Columbia Pictures and sent to Hollywood to make a horror film called The Candy Web.

Aged 20, following a number of TV shows, she won her big break starring in ITV's The Champions, which ran for a year from 1968 and "totally changed my life".

Mrs Bastedo once revealed: "As a result I made 12 Spanish, American and South American films and learnt to speak fluent Spanish as well as Italian and French.

"At one time I maintained apartments in Madrid, Toronto and London.

"Because of my languages I also presented Miss World with Peter Marshall and was invited to 10 Downing Street to talk to the Italian (prime minister Amintore) Fanfani and his ministers who were in England on a trade mission.

"I once worked out that I was on an airplane once every 10 days.

"Eventually I had enough of my nomadic existence, returned to live full-time in England and married Patrick Garland, the artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre, considered to be the third most important theatre in England."

The couple moved to Chichester and bought a 16th century farmhouse set within three acres, enabling Mrs Bastedo to fulfil her dream of rescuing animals.

She continued to act in plays at Chichester, helped Garland with his charity work and raised money for the smaller Minerva Theatre.

Tributes were paid by actress Liza Goddard. She wrote on Twitter: "My dear friend Alexandra Bastedo died today. A beautiful person who will be greatly missed."

Actor Peter Egan, also a supporter of the ABC Animal Sanctuary, wrote: "Deeply sad. Our dear friend Alexandra Bastedo lost her battle with cancer at 4pm today. A beautiful woman and Animal Champion."

PA

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