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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 14:07 GMT
Actress Diana Coupland dies at 74
John Bardon as Jim with Diana Coupland as Maureen in EastEnders
Diana Coupland played Maureen Carter in EastEnders in 2000
Actress Diana Coupland, best known for her role in 1970s sitcom Bless This House, has died in hospital aged 74.

The comedy actress died at Coventry's University Hospital, after she failed to recuperate from surgery to resolve long-term heart problems.

"The operation was a success but because of Diana's longstanding illness, her condition continued to deteriorate," the surgeon said.

Coupland more recently played roles in EastEnders, Casualty and Doctors.

Bond role

"Diana's chances of a full recovery were discussed with her family and they made a decision that she should be allowed to pass away peacefully," said heart surgeon Ramesh Patel.

"May I offer my condolences to the family for the loss of their wife and mother, who I know will be greatly missed."

Diana Coupland (r) in Triangle
Diana Coupland (r) appeared in Triangle during the 1980s

Coupland had not wanted to act initially. Ballet dancing was her first choice of career, but a horse-riding accident prevented her pursuing that ambition.

She began acting in the 60s. Her early career saw her singing voice dubbed over the voice of Ursula Andress in the James Bond film Dr No.

But it was her role in Bless This House, opposite Sid James, that brought her television fame.

She continued to work solidly through the 1980s, and featured in popular shows including police drama Juliet Bravo and Triangle, the series set on a North Sea ferry.

The actress was also well known for her charitable works, becoming patron for National Lupus UK, a charity supporting people suffering from Systemic and Discoid Lupus.


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