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Miss Marple actress McEwan dies

Actress Geraldine McEwan, known for playing Agatha Christie sleuth Miss Marple on television, has died aged 82.

McEwan starred in the role of the spinster consultant detective Jane Marple in 12 TV films aired on ITV.

The Bafta award winner had a long and successful career in theatre, television and films which saw her work with the likes of Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Williams.

Her son Greg and daughter Claudia said in a statement: "Following a stroke at the end of October and a period in hospital, Geraldine McEwan passed away peacefully on January 30.

"Her family would like to thank the staff at Charing Cross Hospital who cared for her incredibly well."

Born Geraldine McKeown in Old Windsor, Berkshire, McEwan announced she was retiring from the role of Miss Marple in 2008.

She said at the time: "Of course, it is terribly disappointing to have to pass the baton on, but it has been a marvellous experience to inhabit this role for the last few years, and I am sure that my successor, whomever she may be, will thoroughly enjoy her time with the production team - and with the extraordinarily talented group of writers and actors that they come up with for each series.

"It's been an absolute pleasure to work on Miss Marple since 2003, and I leave with fond memories."

She won a Bafta TV award for best actress in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit.

In 1953 McEwan married Hugh Cruttwell, a former principal of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts whom she first met while working at the Theatre Royal, Windsor.

The couple had son Greg and daughter Claudia together and she did not re-marry after Cruttwell's death in 2002.

Asked how they combined successful careers with a family life, Cruttwell was quoted saying: "I really don't know how we did it. Geraldine took care of it all."

McEwan had roles in films such as box office hit Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves in 1991, which saw her play evil witch Mortianna alongside Kevin Costner.

She also won gongs for her theatre work, collecting two Evening Standard Best Actress Awards in 1983 for The Rivals and 1995 for The Way Of The World.

McEwan was also well-known for her role as Emmeline "Lucia" Lucas in Mapp And Lucia, a television series based on three 1930s comedy of manners novels by E. F. Benson.

Fans paid tribute to the actress on social media, with "Geraldine McEwan" trending on Twitter.

Emma Foster tweeted: " Sad to hear about Geraldine McEwan. Loved her as a twinkly Miss Marple."

Zeb Soanes ‏said: " Sad to hear death of Geraldine McEwan - the best Judith Bliss in Hayfever I've ever seen, rolling over a sofa without spilling her whisky!"

Christine Symington tweeted: " Really sad to hear of the death of Geraldine McEwan. Wonderful Lucia and Miss Marple."

Actor John Challis, known for playing Boycie in Only Fools And Horses, said: " Dear Geraldine McEwan - a highlight of my career working with you at the NT (National Theatre) in The Rivals. Generous and kind to all of us. God bless you."

Charlie Lawson, who plays Jim McDonald in Coronation Street, said : " The sad death of another fine actress, Geraldine McEwan, today. Check out The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie. Great performance."

And the official Olivier Awards account tweeted: " Sorry to hear that actress Geraldine McEwan had died, aged 82. Our thoughts are with her friends and family. RIP."

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