Birthday: July 20, 1943
Died At Age: 65
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: Wendy Emerton
Born Country: England
Born in: Middlesbrough
Famous as: Actress
Height: 5'6" (168 cm), 5'6" Females
Spouse/Ex-: John Burns (m. 2008 - her death. 2009), Leonard Blach (m. 1972 - div. 1974), Paul Glorney (m. 1990 - div. 1994), Will Thorpe (m. 1980 - div. 1984)
father: Henry William Emerton
mother: Beatrice Reay Cutter
Died on: February 26, 2009
place of death: Harley Street, London
Cause of Death: Cancer
Who was Wendy Richard?
Wendy Richard, born as Wendy Emerton, was an English actress best remembered for playing Miss Shirley Brahms in the sitcom ‘Are You Being Served?’ She was also known for appearing as Pauline Fowler in the soap opera ‘EastEnders’ for nearly 22 years. Born as the only child to her parents, Richard, alongside her family, frequently moved during her childhood. Her father committed suicide in 1954. She attended Royal Masonic School for Girls. Passionate about acting from a young age, she worked at Fortnum & Mason following high school to earn money to study theatre at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. Richard first became known to the TV audiences in the 1960s when she started playing Joyce Harker in the BBC soap opera ‘The Newcomers’. She later did a number of television shows and also became moderately popular on the big screen. In her personal life, the actress was married four times. Her last marriage was with a painter cum decorator named John Burns, with whom she lived until her death. Richard suffered from breast cancer since 1996 and eventually died from it in February 2009. She had no children.
Childhood & Early Life
Wendy Richard was born on 20 July 1943 in Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Henry and Beatrice Reay Emerton.
As a child, she moved to Bournemouth along with her family. They then moved to the Isle of Wight and later to London.
Richard studied at a local primary school but her education was interrupted when the family moved again.
In 1954, when she was 11, her father committed suicide. Her mother never remarried and breathed her last in 1972.
Richard attended Royal Masonic School for Girls following her father’s death and later studied at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
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Wendy Richard's first appearance on television was in the sitcom ‘Stranger on the Shore’ which premiered in 1961. In the ensuing years, she had guest roles in various TV shows, including ‘Harpers West One,’ ‘BBC Sunday-Night Play,’ ‘Danger Man,’ ‘Six,’ and ‘No Hiding Place.’
In 1965, she got her first major soap opera role as a young supermarket till girl named Joyce Harker in the series ‘The Newcomers’.
During the 1970s, the actress guest-starred in the programs ‘Dad’s Army,’ ‘Both Ends Meet,’ ‘Not on Your Nellie’ and ‘Hogg's Back.’
She also appeared in a few movies in the 1970s, including ‘On the Buses’, ‘Gumshoe’, ‘Bless This House’ and ‘Carry On Girls’.
From 1972-85, Richard played the role of Miss Brahms in the series ‘Are You Being Served?’ The show followed the mishaps and misadventures of the staff of a clothing departmental store of a chain called Grace Brothers. She later reprised her role in the series’ 1990s sequel ‘Grace & Favour’.
In 2007, she had a voice role in the BBC documentary ‘Arena’. One of her last roles was a guest appearance in the TV series ‘Here Comes the Queen’ in 2008.
From 1985 to 2006, Wendy Richard played Pauline Fowler in BBC One’s soap opera ‘EastEnders’. Within eight months of its launch, the show reached the #1 spot in BARB's TV ratings and has since then consistently remained among the most-watched TV programs in Britain. As of 2016, it had won nine BAFTA Awards, 12 National Television Awards and 11 British Soap Awards.
Family & Personal Life
Wendy Richard married four times in her lifetime. Her first marriage was to Len Blach, a music publisher, in 1972, which lasted only five months.
She married advertising director Will Thorpe in 1980 after living with him for six years. The couple separated one and a half year later.
The actress then married a carpet fitter named Paul Glorney in 1990. Their marriage ended in a divorce in 1994.
She then began a relationship with a painter cum decorator named John Burns in 1996. The couple got married in 2008 and lived together until her death.
In 1996, Richard was diagnosed with breast cancer. She apparently recovered and was given a clean health chit in 2005. However, her cancer returned in 2008. On 26 February 2009, she finally died struggling with the disease, at the age of 65.