'A true pro with a naughty glint in her eye': Maria Charles, Coronation street and Hot Fuzz star, dies aged 93

4 May 2023, 15:47

Corrie star Maria Charles died on April 21.
Corrie star Maria Charles died on April 21. Picture: Shutterstock/Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The Corrie star who played Lena Thistlewood has died after a career lasting nearly seven decades, first dating back to 1945.

Maria Charles has died aged 93 after a long and successful career in the arts dating back to 1945.

She appeared on the cobbles back in 2005 as Blanche Hunt’s close pal, however, Maria’s career began years prior, as she was most frequently known for her role as Bea Fisher on the ITV sitcom Agony.

She played the mother of co-star Jane Lucas on the show from 1979 until 1981, and returned to screens for the Agony Again sequel in 1995.

Her career didn’t start on TV, however, as the stint that propelled her to fame was on the West End production of Alice in Wonderland.

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She eventually went on to appear in 2007 hit Hot Fuzz, as Mrs Reaper, as well as the TV shows Bad Girls and Skins.

Tributes immediately began flooding in for the star after the news was announced.

One user said: “R.I.P the lovely Maria Charles, who played feisty Noreen Biggs in both Bad Girls TV show and Bad Girls the Musical in the West End.

“She was so much fun, a true pro with a naughty glint in her eye. Such a long illustrious career and always so lovely to be around.”

She played Lena Thistlewood in her brief stint on Corrie.
She played Lena Thistlewood in her brief stint on Corrie. Picture: Shutterstock

Another said: “Such sad news about Maria Charles; best known to me as playing Noreen Biggs in Bad Girls. This scene with Bodybag will always make me chuckle.”

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While one also added: “RIP Maria Charles. A great star of the stage, but it was groundbreaking sitcom 'Agony' in 1979 where I first fell in love with her work.”

Maria was born in 1929 as Maria Scheneider. Her career was extensive, as she took on the roles of Miss Hannigan in Annie on the stage, the Doormouse in the stage production of Alice and Wonderful, and even briefly tutored James Bond star Daniel Craig ahead of his audition for drama school.

She died on April 21 and is survived by two daughters, Kelly and Samantha, and two grandchildren, Albert and Charlie.

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