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Bye Bye Nana

Liz Smith dead aged 95 family of the Royle Family star confirm

The Royle Family star Liz Smith has died aged 95, her family have confirmed.

Smith also starred in BBC hit the Vicar of Dibley, but was most famous for her role as Nana in cult comedy The Royle Family – for which she was handed a BAFTA.

She passed away on Christmas Eve.

A statement from a family spokeswoman  said: “The BAFTA award-winning actress Liz Smith has died, on Christmas Eve, at the age of 95, her family has announced.”

She began her acting career in 1970, appearing in shows like Emmerdale and Last of the Summer Wine.

Scunthorpe-born Smith was handed an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours list.

She is the second member of The Royle Family to die this year.

Co-star Caroline Aherne, 52, lost her battle against cancer in July.

Ralf Little, who played Antony in the show, tweeted his shock at the news.

He wrote: "Devastating to lose two members of my second family in one awful year. RIP Liz Smith. Goodbye Nana. Xxx"

The episode of the much-loved sitcom in which Nana dies - called The Queen of Sheba - was repeated on the BBC during Christmas week.

In 2009, the Prince of Wales presented Smith with an MBE and told her that the sofa-bound TV characters in the show were "nothing like my family, thank God".

Smith only got her first professional roles in her 50s when Mike Leigh was looking for a middle-aged woman capable of improvisation for his debut feature Bleak Moments.

Her career took off after she played the lead role in his first television film Hard Labour and she once said: "I owe everything to Mike."

The actress played eccentric baker Letitia Cropley in The Vicar Of Dibley but was devastated when her character was killed off, and is now best known for her role as Nana in The Royle Family, for which she won best actress at the British Comedy Awards at the age of 85.

Smith also won a Bafta for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Maggie Smith's organ-playing mother in the film A Private Function.

 

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