Veteran stage and TV actor Maureen Lipman made a dame in Queen's Birthday Honours

Actor has enjoyed a wide-ranging career across theatre, TV and film

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Friday 09 October 2020 12:48
Maureen Lipman appears on This Morning (2018)
Maureen Lipman appears on This Morning (2018)

Actor Maureen Lipman has been made a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this year.

The 74-year-old actor was awarded the honour for services to charity, entertainment and the arts. She has been a regular presence on TV and stage since the Sixties.

Her wide-ranging career has included everything from a comedy role in a BT advert to playing a supporting character in Roman Polanski’s Oscar-winning drama, The Pianist.

Born into a Jewish family in Hull in 1946, Lipman studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (Lamda), before being cast in early film appearances, such as 1968 drama Up the Junction.

Lipman shone as a working-class woman who befriends Suzy Kendall’s wealthy heiress, Polly Dean. She was singled out for praise in a New York Times review at the time.

The role was typical of her early career:  “I generally played northern working class girls,” she said. “The girl who didn't get the man, the best friend who made jokes and then didn't get the man. The pattern was set.”

In 1974, Lipman married playright Jack Rosenthal, with whom she had two children. Rosenthal died in 2004 – Lipman later said she found it “impossible to grieve” because her instinct was to make people laugh.

“I'd feel terrible about the fact I didn't look like I was grieving enough,” she said.

Maureen Lipman in Coronation Street with co-stars Paul Copley and David Neilson

In film, Lipman received a Bafta nomination for her supporting role in Educating Rita, the 1983 comedy drama starring Sir Michael Caine and Dame Julie Walters.

She later starred in Roman Polanski’s 2002 biographical war drama The Pianist, as the mother of Adrian Brody’s lead character, Władysław Szpilman.

On stage, Lipman has appeared in productions including Oklahoma! and Aladdin. She currently stars as Evelyn Plummer in Coronation Street.

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She revived her role as grandmother Beattie, from the BT advert, before last year's general election to criticise Jeremy Corbyn.

In September, she also starred in a three-night run of Martin Sherman’s Rose, about a woman’s recollection of the Holocaust to the six-day war. The role was originally made famous by Olympia Dukakis, who performed the one-woman play in London’s West End and on Broadway.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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