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Dame Thora Hird (1911 -- 2003)

Born into a theatrical family in Lancashire, Thora Hird made her stage debut at eight. Although she is most fondly remembered for her television acting and presenting roles, she also had an extensive film career dating back to Will Hay's wartime comedy The Black Sheep of Whitehall (1941).

With around 100 films to her credit, she appeared in Tony Richardson's The Entertainer (1960) with Laurence Olivier, John Schlesinger's blunt drama, A Kind of Loving (1962), and Michael Winner's The Nightcomers (1971).

Typically she played strong, house-proud yet often affectionate women, and many tributes on her death branded her a 'national treasure'. Dame Thora Hird died after a stroke, aged 91, on 15 March 2003, leaving an actress daughter and two granddaughters.