Juliette Kaplan: Last of the Summer Wine actress dies


Juliette Kaplan, who played battleaxe Pearl Sibshaw in BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine for 25 years, has died at the age of 80, her agent has said.

Kaplan appeared in 226 episodes of the show from 1985 to 2010, with the sharp-tongued Pearl trying to thwart husband Howard's attempts to have an affair.

Kaplan also appeared in Coronation Street in 2015 as Agnes Tinker.

Barry Langford thanked "everyone who sent their love and support to this fearless and supremely gifted actress".

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The news comes after the agent said on 31 July that she was "gravely ill", describing her as a "very brave lady".

Last of the Summer Wine ran from 1973 to 2010, taking a comical look at the lives of the elderly residents of a Yorkshire town.

Kaplan told Kent Life in 2012 she first got the role as Pearl when it toured the UK as a play in 1984. Creator and writer Roy Clarke then wrote Pearl into the TV series as one of the permanent characters.

image captionRobert Fyfe played Pearl's husband Howard

The actress was born in Bournemouth but moved around as a child as a result of her South African father's job in the Navy.

She told the Summer Winos fan site in 2012 that having lived in South Africa and New York, her mother wanted to refine her daughter's accent, "so she sent me to elocution lessons" at drama school.

She went on to pursue an acting career and worked in theatre. She married and had three children, but her husband died in 1981 when she was 42.

image copyrightShutterstock
image captionJuliette Kaplan worked as an actress throughout her life

Kaplan also appeared in TV shows including EastEnders, Brookside and Doctors, but the role of Pearl was the most enduring of her career. She said she helped create her character's distinctive look, complete with wig and glasses.

"They actually gave me a wig from stock, and it used to flap at the back," she said. "So every time the wind blew, my wig came off! So it was my idea to anchor it with either a turban or a beret."

image captionShe was in a 2005 Christmas special with (left-right) June Whitfield and Kathy Staff

She also appeared in a show written by Clarke called Just Pearl, which toured the UK in 2003, telling the story of Pearl's life before she met Howard.

She told Summer Winos: "My show starts with me turning into Pearl in front of the audience.

"I put the make-up on, put the coat on, and say 'There you are… there's Pearl'. And the audience likes that sort of thing."

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