Comedy world mourns sitcom star Sugden

Comedy actress Mollie Sugden died in hospital after a long illness, aged 86.



The Yorkshire-born star of popular sitcom Are You Being Served? died in the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford yesterday afternoon.

Her twin sons, Robin and Simon Moore, were at her bedside, according to her agent Joan Reddin.

Ms Reddin began representing Sugden in the 1960s before she became famous with her role as Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served?

She said: "I represented her for more than 30 years and I was a very close friend as well.

"She had had a long illness and various problems but it was very quick in the end.

"Her twin boys were with her and she faded away.

"She was a lovely, lovely person and I never had any trouble with her.

"She was a great professional."

Sugden, who lived in Surrey, was married to fellow actor William Moore.

She never fully recovered from his death nine years ago, Ms Reddin said.

"They were very much in love," she said. "She started to go down when he died."

Best known for her comedy roles often playing battleaxes, Sugden also appeared as the fearsome Mrs Hutchinson in The Liver Birds.

But Ms Reddin said that although Are You Being Served? was her most famous show, Sugden was "too good" an actress not to do drama as well and her career spanned a variety of roles.

Born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in July 1922, Sugden trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Her early career was spent in repertory theatre, where in Swansea in 1956, she met Moore.

They married two years later, when she was 35 and he was 39. Their sons were born six years later.

Frank Thornton, who played Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served? told the BBC: "Mollie, of course, was an excellent comedian.

"If you can play comedy, you can play anything - you can play tragedy as well.

"And if you can only play tragedy, you can't play comedy.

"She was a jolly good actress."

Of their on-screen chemistry in the long-running BBC sitcom, he said: "You can't play comedy if you don't get on. It was a wonderful team."

The BBC's head of comedy Mark Freeland said: "It is with sadness that the BBC learns of Mollie Sugden's death.

"She will be remembered as a truly funny and instantly recognisable actress - a star of 1970s British comedy.

"She lit up the screens in both The Liver Birds and most famously, Are You Being Served?

"Her daftly enormous purple rinse and never-to-be-forgotten catchphrase are the stuff of comedy legend and she takes her place as one of TV's iconic funny women."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen