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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 14:52 GMT
Actress Mary Barclay dies at 91
Actress Mary Barclay
The actress asked the producers of Crossroads to kill off her character
Stage and screen actress Mary Barclay has died at the age of 91.

She appeared in the 1973 film A Touch of Class with George Segal and Glenda Jackson, and played the domineering Stella Dane in television's Crossroads.

Ms Barclay's other televison credits included: Secret Army, Spy Trap, Dixon of Dock Green and Steptoe And Son.

The actress died at a nursing home in Guernsey on Tuesday, where she had been living since she suffered a stroke seven years ago.

Born Mary Biddulph in Somerset, she achieved a double-first in classics at Cambridge University.

Canadian move

After being turned down by the Civil Service Board she lodged in London with Ivor Novello's mother, who taught Barclay to sing and play the piano in return for setting out her gin bottles.

At the outbreak of World War II, after enrolling at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the actress married Richard Barclay, who became a successful BBC film editor.

After the war, the couple emigrated to Canada, where she landed her first film role in the Canadian drama Sins of the Fathers. In 1948, she played the Cockney prostitute in the play Tit-Coq (Little Rooster), which played in Canada for three years.

Her first Broadway success was in Agatha Christie's The Hollow, which led to a role in US television in Florence Nightingale and further appearances on Broadway.

Censors' cut

The couple returned to Britain in 1956 and Ms Barclay's appearances continued on stage, film and television.

In the 1960s she appeared for 18 months as the overbearing mother-in-law in Crossroads before getting bored and asking the producers to kill her character off.

He later credits included: The Revolutionary (1970), in which she played Jon Voight's disapproving mother, and Sex and the Other Woman (1972), which was cut by nine minutes by British censors.

Richard Barclay died from a heart attack in 1985 and the actress married a Scottish widower, David Taylor, in 1987.

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