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Last Updated: Monday, 29 November, 2004, 15:52 GMT
Obituary: Molly Weir
Molly Weir
Molly Weir: Actor and best-selling author
Actress Molly Weir, famed for starring in children's BBC TV show Rentaghost, had a long and distinguished career on radio and TV. She has died aged 94.

Weir may be remembered most for her role as Hazel McWitch in the hit slapstick TV show Rentaghost, which featured a group of ghosts trying to set up their own business enterprise.

Her role as a Scottish ghost made her a well-known face in millions of homes across the country.

But at the start of her career, it was her distinctive Scottish accent and talent as a mimic in the 1940s which launched her as a member of the radio sketch show It's That Man Again (ITMA).

Later, she enjoyed great success as the author of eight volumes of memoirs.

Molly Weir as Hazel the McWitch in Rentaghost
She played Hazel the McWitch in Rentaghost
She was born in Glasgow on 17 March 1910, and left school to take a secretarial course and become a local celebrity with the phenomenal shorthand speed of 300 words a minute.

She was also a prolific writer - her first article was accepted by the Glasgow Evening Times when she was 15 years old.

She went on to write a best-selling cookery book, eight volumes of autobiography and radio scripts for Woman's Hour, Children's Hour and Home This Afternoon.

But her main interest was acting, and after a spell in the amateur and professional theatre in Scotland she was spotted doing impersonations of Gracie Fields and Marlene Dietrich by the radio talent show host, Carol Levis.

She appeared on his show, and was beaten into second place by a whistling bus conductor.

'Fantastic ability'

Weir moved to London in 1945 with an 18-month West End run in The Happiest Days of Your Life. During this period she joined the ITMA team, and became known to millions of radio listeners as Tattie McIntosh.

Her fellow Scot, Gordon Jackson, was a fan, once telling her: "Molly, you have a fantastic ability to act straight from the script."

When the show ended with the death of Tommy Handley, she continued her radio work, and went on to another big success as Aggie in Life With the Lyons, which later transferred to television.

She appeared in a number of television series and plays, including the BBC's Oil Strike North and The Root of All Evil on ITV, both in 1975.

Her accent was also in demand for television commercials, notably in a long-running series in which she appeared extolling the virtues of a kitchen cleaner.

Weir was named Scotswoman of the Year in 2000.


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