Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Sunday, September 20, 1998 Published at 05:21 GMT 06:21 UK


Star Patricia Hayes dies at 88

Patricia Hayes with Warren Mitchell in Till Death Us Do Part

Veteran comedy actress Patricia Hayes OBE has died at the age of 88.

Her son Richard O'Callaghan, 58, said Miss Hayes, who had been ill for some time, died peacefully at a nursing home at 5pm on Saturday.

"She had been in the nursing home for a while and died very peacefully," he said. "All her family were with her when she passed away."

Miss Hayes, who also has two daughters, Teresa and Gemma, was awarded an OBE in 1987.

She made her name on the stage but became best known in TV roles in programmes like Till Death us do Part.

Energy and warmth

In a career spanning 70 years, the actress performed with many of Britain's great comedians, including Ted Ray, Tony Hancock, Benny Hill, Warren Mitchell and Frankie Howerd.

In title role of Edna, the Inebriate Woman, Patricia Hayes tries to prevent closure of hostel where she is staying
A tiny woman of enormous energy and warmth, she was best known for her portrayal of high-pitched cockney characters and won her greatest acclaim in the title role of Edna, the Inebriate Woman, for which she won a BAFTA in 1972.

In recent years became best known for a string of performances in television programmes such as Till Death Us Do Part, Spooners Patch, Pat and Dandy, The Lady is a Tramp and In Sickness and In Health.

Miss Hayes was born in Camberwell, south-east London, on 22 December 1909.

She was one of three children who all took to the stage, encouraged by their father George, a civil servant.

At 18 the aspiring Miss Hayes joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

She got radio parts on Children's Hour before making the next step to the stage. After leaving RADA in 1928 she spent 10 years in repertory theatre, making her name as Ruby the maid in JB Priestley's When We Are Married.

Her private life was less happy. She married actor Valentine Rock in 1937 but he left her in 1945.

But her career was revived by comedian Benny Hill, who wrote her into his TV programmes.

It was the start of a fine career on the small screen. She starred in the follow up to Till Death us do Part, In Sickness and in Health, as well as programmes like Spooners Patch, Pat and Dandy and The Lady is a Tramp.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

Entertainment Contents

TV and Radio
New Media