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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 July, 2005, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
EastEnders' Ethel dies, aged 94
EastEnders actress Gretchen Franklin
As Ethel, Franklin was rarely seen without pug dog Willy
Gretchen Franklin, known to millions as EastEnders' Ethel Skinner, has died - four days after her 94th birthday.

Franklin was an Albert Square fixture from 1985 to 2000, eventually leaving in an euthanasia storyline that saw friend Dot Cotton helping Ethel to die.

"I will miss her very much," said actress June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in the BBC soap. "She always soldiered on, never complaining.

"She seemed such an indomitable person you felt she would go on forever."

Although her acting career spanned more than 80 years, it was as Ethel that Franklin became a household name.

Rarely seen without her pug dog Willy - named after her late husband - she was renowned for her brightly coloured wigs and tea-cosy hats.

Fifteen million viewers watched her funeral, though Franklin said she was not one of them.

"I won't miss being on the show, but I will miss the salary," she added.

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