BBC News

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal dies at 84

image captionPatricia Neal had a role in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Oscar-winning US actress Patricia Neal has died aged of 84 from lung cancer.

Neal won an Academy Award for her role in the 1963 film Hud, but gave up acting two years later at the age of 39 after suffering a series of strokes.

But she returned to the screen after rehabilitation to earn a further Oscar and several Emmy nominations.

The star, who was born in Tennessee, was married to author Roald Dahl for 30 years and is the grandmother of model and TV presenter Sophie Dahl.

Indomitable grace

Neal's daughter Tessa is the mother of Dahl.

The actress was a star on Broadway before making the move to Hollywood in the late 1940s.

Among her early screen roles were 1951 sci-fi movies The Day The Earth Stood Still and A Face In The Crowd directed by Elia Kazan.

image captionPatricia Neal's film career began in the late 1940s

Her best actress Oscar for Hud recognised her portrayal of a tough housekeeper who refused to succumb to the charms of Paul Newman's character.

Neal had to learn to walk and talk again after suffering her strokes, returning to film in 1968 and being Oscar-nominated for The Subject Was Roses.

The actress's illness had left her with impaired memory and unable to remember large chunks of script.

She went on to play Olivia Walton in a TV drama which was the vehicle for popular series The Waltons, gaining the first of three Emmy nominations.

Neal, who divorced Roald Dahl in 1983, dipped out of the spotlight until 1999 when she returned to the big screen in Cookie's Fortune by Robert Altman.

The actress, who was famed for her husky voice, gained her last screen credit for Flying, made in 2009.

Her family said in a statement that on the day before she died, the screen star said: "I've had a lovely time."

They added: "She faced her final illness as she had all of the many trials she endured, with indomitable grace, good humour and a great deal of her self-described stubbornness."