Liz Smith

Liz Smith

Date of birth: 11-12-1921
Born in Scunthorpe, Liz Smith made her first TV appearance at the age of 49, and has featured in comedies such as Last Of The Summer Wine, Bottom, The Lenny Henry Show and 2 Point 4 Children. In 1984, she received a Bafta for best supporting actress, for playing Maggie Smith's mother in the film A Private Function.

One of her highest-profile roles came in 1994, when she landed the part of Letitia Cropley in The Vicar Of Dibley. She appeared in the eight episodes of the show over two years before her character died.

However, she is best known for playing Nana in The Royle Family, which originally ran from 1998 to 2000. However, it returned in 2006 for a touching Christmas special, The Queen Of Sheba, about the death of her character.

It earned her another Bafta nomination (in 2007) for best comedy performance, but lost out to Ricky Gervais. At the time, she said: ‘‘I like awards - they make up for half a life of nothing but rejection Everyone was gunning for me to win.... Ricky Gervais won, though, and I couldn't believe it. I was so certain I was going to win.’ However, that year she did pick up another accolade: Best television comedy actress at the British Comedy Awards.

More recently, Smith has voiced a part for Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit and appeared in Lark Rise to Candleford and the Little Man Tate music video This Must Be Love.

In 2006, Smith published her autobiography called Our Betty and at around the same time moved into a retirement home in Hampstead, London. She said: ‘I have been very lonely in my life, which is why I decided to live with other people around. But don't call it a retirement home.’

At the end of 2008, she was made an MBE in the New Year Honours.

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