Entertainment & Arts

Kate O'Mara: Joan Collins leads tributes to actress

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Media captionSpeaking in 2013, she told the BBC's Rob Smith about her role in Doctor Who

Former Dynasty actress Joan Collins has described the death of her late co-star Kate O'Mara as "tragic news", adding "we had great fun on Dynasty when she played my sister Caress... RIP".

O'Mara died aged 74 in a Sussex nursing home on Sunday following a short illness, her agent said.

Collins played O'Mara's scheming sister Alexis Colby in the US soap.

O'Mara also had prominent roles in two 1980s series, Triangle and Howards' Way. She also starred in Doctor Who.

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Image caption O'Mara and fellow Dynasty star Joan Collins met the Queen at a Diamond Jubilee event celebrating the arts in 2012

On hearing the news of her death, Doctor Who co-star Colin Baker tweeted: "Oh my goodness. Kate O'Mara is no longer with us. Sad sad news. A delightful, committed and talented lady and actress. We are the poorer."

Doctor Who and Sherlock writer and actor Mark Gatiss appeared alongside O'Mara on BBC Radio 4 sci-fi comedy Nebulous. He tweeted: "Farewell to the much underrated & glorious Kate O'Mara. Had the pleasure of working with her on 'Nebulous'. Deft, funny & delightful. RIP."

BBC presenter Graham Norton added: "Kate O'Mara is no more. Only 74! I loved every encounter I had with her. Today doesn't seem so sunny."

Her agent Phil Belfield praised her "energy and vitality" and her "love for theatre and acting".

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Image caption O'Mara said she would be interested in returning to Doctor Who

"A shining star has gone out and Kate will be dearly missed by all who knew and have worked with her," he added, while also labelling the actress "extraordinary".

O'Mara's first television roles were in the 1960s, but she came to public attention playing the manipulative Cassandra "Caress" Morrell in Dynasty.

She played a ruthless businesswoman in BBC drama Howards' Way and was briefly a regular on the North Sea ferry drama Triangle.

She also appeared in Doctor Who, opposite both Baker and Sylvester McCoy, as renegade Time Lord The Rani - a role she had said she would love to return to.

"If you put a much older woman in Doctor Who, they can identify with it," she told Digital Spy ahead of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the show, where she tweeted images of herself with former co-stars.

"I think it's quite an interesting concept and if you remember things like Grimm's Fairytales, the older woman is often the villainess, often the terrifying figure - why I do not know, but often she is. I think it's an idea to be exploited."

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Image caption In 1976, she joined Ernie Wise and Eric Morecambe on their long-running show
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Image caption Speaking at the 50th anniversary celebrations, O'Mara said she would love to return as Doctor Who villain The Rani
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Image caption The actress played Lady Windermere in Lord Arthur Savile's Crime alongside Lee Mead in 2010

In the 1990s, O'Mara starred in BBC comedy Absolutely Fabulous as Joanna Lumley's on-screen sister Jackie, and in 2001, she made a string of appearances in ITV drama Bad Girls.

More recently she had appeared in ITV soap Benidorm and a 2012 stage adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death On The Nile.

One of her final public appearances saw her hosting An Evening With Kate O'Mara in London last October.

She published two autobiographies and two novels, When She Was Bad and Good Time Girl.

She was married to actors Richard Willis and Jeremy Young and leaves a sister, actress Belinda Carroll. Her son Dickon died last year.

The actress last posted a message on Twitter on 17 March.

"Thank you so much for your kind tweets," she wrote.

"It's both humbling and completely overwhelming to read all of your messages. Much Love x."

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