Thora Hird

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Thora Hird

Thora_Hird’s Biography

Hird was born in the coastal city of Morecambe, England. Her first contact with the theatrical environment came when she was two months old and appeared in a play directed by her father. The family environment was largely theatrical: her mother, Marie Mayor, had been an actress, and her father directed several shows in Morecambe, including the Royalty Theater where she made her first performance, and Central Pier. Thora often described her father as her most rigid critic, and attributed much of her talent as an actress to her father’s guidance.

Initially, he worked regularly in the cinema, in films such as Went the Day Well? (1942). He worked with the British comedian Will Hay, and participated in The Entertainer (1960), starring Laurence Olivier, and in A Kind of Loving (1962), with Alan Bates.

Thora Hird achieved his greatest fame working in television comedies, including sitcoms Meet the Wife (1963-66), In Loving Memory (1979-86), Hallelujah 1983-1984) and, for almost two decades, Last of the Summer Wine (1986-2003). However, he did many different roles, including that of the wet nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and won several BAFTA awards for best actress for his roles in two of the Alan Bennett Talking Heads monologues.

Hird was also Mrs Speck, the housekeeper of the Mayor of Gloucester in The Tailor of Gloucester (1989). She was also the mother of Deric Longden in Wide Eyed and Legless and Lost for Words, for which she received the BAFTA for best actress.

Hird was a committed Christian, presenting the religious program Praise Be !, a spin-off of Songs of Praise on the BBC. His work for charities and television, despite his advanced age and poor health, made him an institution.

She was appointed officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1983, and in 1993 a commendatory lady of the same order. He also received an honorary doctorate in letters from the University of Lancaster in 1989.

In December 1998, already in a wheelchair, Dame Thora made a brief but energetic cameo as Dolly’s mother in Dinnerladies.

Thora Hird died in 2003 in London, after suffering a stroke. He was 91 years old. His remains were incinerated.

Hird was the mother of actress Janette Scott.

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