Liz Dawn: Known to millions as Vera Duckworth on Coronation Street

Liz Dawn, Coronation Street star. Born: 8 November, 1939, in Leeds. Died: 25 September, 2017, aged 77.
Liz Dawn pictured at Buckingham Palace in 2000 after receiving her MBE. Picture: PALiz Dawn pictured at Buckingham Palace in 2000 after receiving her MBE. Picture: PA
Liz Dawn pictured at Buckingham Palace in 2000 after receiving her MBE. Picture: PA

Liz Dawn made her name as the argumentative Vera Duckworth, a much-loved character in Coronation Street and one of the longest-serving members of the cast.

With screen husband, Jack (played by Bill Tarmey), they became one of the soap world’s most popular – and quarrelsome – couples.

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Dawn first set foot on the cobbles as a factory worker in 1974 .

She was on the soap for 34 years, until her character was written out of the ITV show in 2008 at the actress’s request.

The episode in which her character died peacefully in her sleep in her armchair was seen by more than 12 million viewers.

Dawn had been diagnosed with the lung disease emphysema in 2004.

She returned for a one-off appearance as Vera’s ghost in 2010 for Tarmey’s final scenes.

She later said of life in a soap: “It does take over your life.

People don’t realise. They think you’ve had a charmed life. They don’t see that you’ve brought up four children and learnt lines on the train.”

Liz Dawn was born ­Sylvia Butterfield in Leeds on November 8, 1939.

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She left school at 16 and worked selling light bulbs in Woolworths, as well as in a local tailoring factory, as a cinema usherette and shoe salesgirl. She began her showbusiness career as a nightclub ­singer.

By the late 1960s she ­ventured into acting, often taking small parts in TV ­programmes as well as appearing in commercials.

During the 1970s, Dawn appeared in a variety of ­programmes, including All Creatures Great And Small and Colin Welland’s play Leeds United.

In 2000, Dawn was chosen as the Lady Mayoress of Leeds and was awarded an MBE in October of that year for services to charity, having helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for hospitals in the Manchester and Leeds areas.

She campaigned for the British Lung Foundation, fronting campaigns to raise awareness.

She enjoyed a cameo role and came out of retirement in 2015 – two years after suffering a heart attack – for ITV soap Emmerdale.

“I love my character. What a feisty lady she is!,” she said at the time, of Mrs Winterbottom.

“Giving them all a run for their money in the B&B on Christmas Day. She’s so rude to them, which isn’t like me at all.”

Dawn had four children and was married twice – to miner Walter Bradley in 1957, with whom she had her first child, and to electrician Donald Ibbertson in 1965.

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