Actress Nicola Pagett Has Died Of Brain Tumour Aged 75 News

Actress Nicola Pagett Has Died Of Brain Tumour Aged 75

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Time icon March 6, 2021

Actress Nicola Pagett died at the age of 75 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, her family has confirmed.

Pagett was best known for starring in the role of Elizabeth Bellamy, the rebellious daughter of Richard and Lady Marjorie, in the 1970s TV series Upstairs, Downstairs.

‘Extremely Sudden’

Harold Pinter’s play, especially the Old Times of 1985, also described Pagett’s 30-year career and screen work.

Upstairs, Downstairs actress Nicola Pagett dies aged 75 - BBC News

Nicola’s daughter Eve Swannell confirmed she passed with “great peace” on Wednesday.

Following a brain tumor less than three weeks ago, she told BBC News.

“It was extremely sudden” she added. “I was by her side”.

Three Decade Long Career

Pagett’s role as Bellamy in the first series of the 1971 ITV drama Upstairs, Down helped the show win four Emmys.

The story of her character, which was dominated by a love affair that had a problem while she was in a loveless marriage, involved conceiving a child in a romantic relationship with a publisher, before moving to New York.

It was Pagett’s idea to get out of the series because she said she “doesn’t want to be known for just one thing.”

She went on to play Elizabeth Fanschawe in the 1973 TV film Frankenstein: The True Story, and starred in 10 episodes of the BBC episode Anna Karenina.

On the big screen, Pagett appeared in 1969 Anne’s Thousand Days, as well as 70s films There’s a Girl in My Soup and Operation: Daybreak.

Turns in Privates On Parade and Mike Newell’s An Awfully Big Adventure followed, as well as starring alongside David Jason in 1989’s comedy drama A Bit Of A Do.

Early Life

Pagett was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1945 when her father Herbert Scott was an oil administrator, Pagett had a nomadic childhood, before being sent to a boarding school in the UK.

Her love of acting led to her being admitted to London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Theater in 1962 – just 17 years old – where she changed her surname to Pagett when she graduated.

Pagett on stage

After making her debut in London at the Duchess Theater in 1968 A Boston Story, followed by a string of West End role roles.

The play, as well as the appearance of Jonathan Miller’s 1974 season at the Greenwich Theater, eventually caught Harold Pinter’s eye and sparked a long working relationship.

The playwright first directed Pagett at the National in 1983 as Helen, the provocative enchantress in The Trojan War Will Not Take Place.

The two reunited to revive the Old Times in 1985, where Nicola played the dreamy wife of Michael Gambon who made a film alongside Liv Ullmann.

However, her work was overshadowed by a long period of mental illness, including depression, which she wrote about in her book, Diamonds Behind My Eyes, published in 1997.

She said at the time: “We wrote the book in the hope that it might help other people. Manic depression is so common.”

Pagett detailed how she became obsessed with a man she called “The Stranger” and began to send hundreds of love letters to him.

It later emerged this was Tony Blair’s press secretary Alastair Campbell, who she never met in person. Intermittent stays in psychiatric clinics followed.

The actress was married to playwright Graham Swannell from 1975 until their divorce in 1997.

She is survived by their daughter, Eve and her sister, Angela.

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