Death :Denise Coffey Obituary, Actor Denise Coffey has died at 85

Death :Denise Coffey Obituary

Denise Coffey Obituary, Death : Denise Coffey, legendary theatre, TV actor and author has died aged 85, on March 24, 2022. Denise was a key TV presence in British comedy over its most redefining postwar interval, and to see her on stage, at all times puckish and pleasant, was to put money into two or three hours of a useful religious tonic.

She was a vital member of the ebullient Young Vic firm fashioned in 1970 beneath the aegis of the National Theatre on the Old Vic to ship classics and new performs with regard to a youthful viewers. She had already, within the Sixties, performed a collection of classical and low-life roles at Bernard Miles’s Mermaid theatre in Puddle Dock.

She emerged on the Young Vic, beneath Frank Dunlop’s route, trailing a number of movie credit and a excessive profile in surreal tv comedy – notably in ITV’s Do Not Adjust Your Set (1967-69) – influenced by the radio comedy of the Goons and prefiguring Monty Python.

She and David Jason fashioned the “legit showbiz” ingredient in an organization of college wits – Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, the producer Humphrey Barclay – with musical incursions from Vivian Stanshall’s delirious Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

There adopted two standard collection on ITV: Girls About Town (1970-71) wherein she and the singer Julie Stevens had been residing it massive in Acacia Avenue; and Hold the Front Page (1974), wherein Coffey led a bunch of loopy newsroom assistants chasing down a “Mr Big” concerned in a Great Rug Scandal. End of Part One (1979) was a satirical cleaning soap wherein Mr and Mrs Straightman (Tony Aitken and Coffey as Norman and Vera) had been disrupted of their home dullness by a panoply of well-known folks on tv; Coffey herself turned up as Robin Day in these trademark merciless glasses.

She was a complete one-off: beneath 5 toes tall, elfin-looking, punchy and eccentric. In her personal life, she was determinedly single, vegetarian and eventually distant, particularly after she found the fun of the West Country – she moved from London to Salcombe in Devon – and residing by the ocean.

She was an everyday in a few Stanley Baxter’s TV comedy collection in 1968 and 1971 and went wildly excessive because the grotesque supervisor of Alexei Sayle’s hopeless nightclub comic, Bobby Chariot, in Sayle’s Merry-Go-Round in 1998.

Denise was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the one little one of Dorothy (nee Malcolm), and her husband, Denis Coffey, a proud Irishman from Cork and squadron chief within the RAF. They moved north to Dorothy’s native Scotland, residing close to Inverkeithing in Fife and later in Milesmark exterior Dunfermline, the place Denise was educated at Dunfermline highschool and skilled on the Glasgow College of Drama and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music.

in The Shoemaker’s Holiday, by Thomas Dekker, in 1965. Photograph: John Silverside/ANL/Shutterstock
She made knowledgeable appearing debut on the Opera House, Dunfermline, in 1954, “as various apparitions” in Macbeth. By 1962, she was enjoying the star flip, the word-mangling Mrs Malaprop, in Sheridan’s The Rivals on the Gateway in Edinburgh after which, in 1963, the insalubrious Mrs Coaxer in a revival of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera for the Royal Shakespeare Company on the Aldwych in London (alongside Dorothy Tutin, Patience Collier and Elizabeth Spriggs); she was urgent her claims to affix the highest desk.

A West End spotlight was enjoying the maid, Edith, in High Spirits, a Broadway musical model of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, directed by Coward himself, on the Savoy theatre in 1964, in a solid together with Denis Quilley, Marti Stevens and Cecily Courtneidge.

She had made a tv debut in 1959 in a BBC adaptation of Walter Scott’s Redgauntlet and consolidated her theatre popularity on the Mermaid in numerous classics and new performs, notably as 19-year-old Fanny O’Dowda in George Bernard Shaw’s Fanny’s First Play – as a prosecuted suffragist turned feminist playwright; and because the non-speaking however often flatulent Cicely Bumtrinket – a favorite position, not even recognized in most solid lists – in Thomas Dekker’s Elizabethan metropolis comedy The Shoemaker’s Holiday.

She additionally featured in a number of necessary 60s movies: as Peter Sellers’s eccentric daughter Sidonia Fitzjohn (alongside Prunella Scales as her sister) in John Guillermin’s Waltz of the Toreadors (1962); as Lynn Redgrave’s mousy little good friend, Peg, in Georgy Girl (1966); and as Soberness in John Schlesinger’s Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates.

On location in Dorset for the final of those, she visited close by Devon, the place she would return to reside completely. But not earlier than her Young Vic stint – as each actor and affiliate director – within the 70s, the place she was a standout firm member alongside Jim Dale, Jane Lapotaire, Andrew Robertson and Nicky Henson.

Her roles, all invested with incomparable zest and cheek, included Beatrice in Much Ado, a uncommon double of Mistress Overdone and Mariana in Measure for Measure and Doll Common in Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist. She toured Europe and north America with the corporate, showing with them on the Edinburgh festivals of 1967, 1971 and 1972, notably as a harassed Scottish housewife in a Comedy of Errors relocated from Ephesus to Edinburgh.

When her mentor Dunlop was appointed director of the pageant in 1985, she supplied a superb Scottish model of Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme – A Wee Touch of Class – starring Rikki Fulton as “Archibald” (actual identify, Charles) Jenner, the Nineteenth-century founding father of the well-known retailer, Jenners, on Princes Street; Coffey was Netty, a scrofulous clog-dancing servant from Fife.

She appeared in a high-quality, early Film on Four, Michael Radford’s Another Time, Another Place (1983). Her work on radio included visitor appearances on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and Just a Minute, and two collection by Sue Limb: The Wordsmiths of Gorsemere (1985-87), a really humorous send-up of the Lakeland poets, Coffey herself as Dorothy Wordsmith, Tim Curry as Lord Biro and Simon Callow as Samuel Tailor Cholericke; and Alison and Maud (2002-04), teaming with Miriam Margolyes as a pair of bizarrely eccentric landladies.

A 1980 movie written by Stanshall, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, wherein she performed a tapeworm-obsessed lady referred to as Mrs E, gained cult standing when issued on DVD in 2006. “It’s impossible to do justice,” stated the critic Nigel Andrews, “to the film’s arrant and quite unique lunacy.” In the 80s, in Canada, she directed performs for John Neville at his Neptune theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and for Christopher Newton on the Shaw pageant in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Her output was more and more sporadic as she fortunately hunkered down in Salcombe, “exploring my artistic bent”, fishing in a small boat with a tiny outboard motor, gardening and making uncommon excursions to London, at all times travelling by taxi.

She is survived by a cousin, Linda.

Denise Dorothy Coffey, actor and author, born 12 December 1936; died 24 March 2022

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