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Thora Hird
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Thora Hird

Dame Thora Hird (May 28, 1911 - March 15, 2003) was a veteran British actress born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. She was the mother of the actress Janette Scott, and thus formerly the mother-in-law of the singer Mel Tormé.

Thora Hird was mainly associated with television comedy, notably the sitcoms Meet the Wife (a 1960s classic) and later series of Last of the Summer Wine. However, she played a variety of roles, including the nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and won a BAFTA Best Actress award for her role in one of Alan Bennett's monologues.

Dame Thora's talent for comedy was shown to good effect in her performance as the potential battleaxe mother-in-law to Victoria Wood's character in the TV film Pat and Margaret. Her most memorable line was, on hearing that her son had been having sex with his girlfriend in her house, Not on the eiderdown!

Her tireless work for charity and work on television in spite of old age and ill health had made her an institution. Although in recent years she had been thought of as a stereotypical old woman (with many jokes about her sideline advertising stairlifts), some of her youthful film work still survives, including her 1942 appearance in the classic wartime propaganda film Went the Day Well?.

Thora Hird's energy and resilience were such that, even following the news that she had suffered a stroke, BBC bosses were still hoping that she would recover in order to appear in the next series of Last of the Summer Wine.

She received an OBE in 1983, an honorary DLitt from Lancaster University in 1989, and a DBE (thus becoming a Dame) in 1993.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Thora Hird Facts

BirthdayMay 28, 1911
BirthplaceUnited Kingdom
Date of deathMarch 15, 2003 (age 91)

Selected Filmography

Not available.