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Sunday, October 18, 1998 Published at 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK


Miss Marple actress dies at 92

Miss Marple is one of literature's best-loved characters

Joan Hickson, best known as television's Miss Marple, has died in a Colchester hospital aged 92.

Andrew Bomford: Hickson will be best remembered as Miss Marple
Ms Hickson began her acting career in 1927 and went on to star in a wide variety of film and stage roles, receiving an OBE for her services to the profession.

She played Agatha Christie's amateur detective Miss Marple on the BBC from 1984 to 1992, earning two Bafta nominations.

[ image: Miss Marple made Joan Hickson an international star]
Miss Marple made Joan Hickson an international star
The author herself predicted Ms Hickson would play the role one day and her portrayal is considered among the best.

The series was sold to more than 30 countries and made Ms Hickson an international star.

She also appeared in more than 100 films, including many of the Carry On films.

Ms Hickson was born in Northamptonshire and decided to take up a stage career after seeing a pantomime aged five.

Stage debut at 20

She spent three years at Rada and made her first stage appearance aged 20.

BBC correspondent Richard Anthony Baker reflects on a 70-year career
Her theatre work culminated in a Tony for her part in Bedroom Farce in 1979.

Ms Hickson married Eric Butler, who died in 1967. The couple had two children.

Her son Nicholas said: "My mother's career was long and full. During the years she saw film and TV change out of all recognition but she was able to keep up with the times and change with them."

He added: "She enjoyed playing Miss Marple tremendously."

The Controller of BBC One, Peter Salmon, also paid tribute to the actress.

"Joan Hickson was over many decades one of the greatest character actresses of British film and TV," he said.

"She will be remembered for countless roles but for many she was the definitive Miss Marple in the BBC's classic adaptation of the Agatha Christie stories, and her performances brought pleasure to millions."

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