Inside TV icon Lynda Barons life – famous husband, hidden talent and real name

  • Bookmark
  • Share your email to get soaps interviews, spoilers from the Star

    We have more newsletters

    Fans and friends from the world of entertainment were left devastated last year, when BBC Open All Hours actress Lynda Baron died at the age of 82 years old.

    The beloved star was known to generations of fans as Nurse Gladys in the legendary comedy, as well as appearing in soaps including EastEnders and Coronation Street.

    But did you know that her career could have taken a completely different turn altogether?

    READ MORE: Where Open All Hours cast are now from ditching acting, Corrie stint and tragic death

    As Open All Hours celebrates its 47th anniversary (February 20), Daily Star takes a look back at Lynda Baron's incredible life and career.

    Real name and 'secret' talent

    Although generations of fans know the name Lynda Baron, the actress used a stage name for her many appearances throughout the years.

    The star was actually born Lilian Ridgway in Urmston, Manchester on March 24, 1939.

    Her life may have taken a completely different turn too, as the star showcased her talents from a young age in another career – dance.

    From the age of four years old, Lynda studied ballet and trained at the Royal Academy of Dance, with the star performing at venues such as the Astor Club in Mayfair in her late teens.

    However, The Guardian reported Lynda later said: "I realised there was so little room at the top in ballet, and being determined to get to the top I took up singing."

    From there she began to appear in pantomime at venues such as The Liverpool Empire, where she learnt comic timing from the performers onstage – and the rest as they say, is history.

    TV icon

    After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dance, she landed roles in repertory theatre and several West End shows, before making her TV debut in programmes such as Up Pompeii, Z-Cars, BBC-3 and Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life.

    From there she did not leave our screens, appearing in films such as Hammer House's Hands Of The Ripper and Carry on Columbus, as well as TV series Doctor Who, Minder, The Upper Hand, Goodnight Sweetheart, Fat Friends, Citizen Khan and Father Brown.

    Lynda also reprised her role as Nurse Gladys in a Christmas special called Still Open All Hours in 2013, which drew in more than 12m viewers.

    That's not all, as the star is beloved by generations of fans who knew her as Auntie Mabel in children's series Come Outside, where she would fly on adventures in a spotty plane with her dog Pippin.

    Throughout her career, Lynda also appeared as herself on TV series including Countdown and Blankety Blank.

    Speaking about her many famous roles, the star admitted that she "couldn't name" her favourite character she had played, telling The Sunday Post: "I loved playing Nurse Gladys and Auntie Mabel but I couldn’t name my favourite of the different characters I have played.

    "Partly that is because I am really the sort of person who prefers to look ahead and think about what I am doing now and, importantly, what I am going to do next."

    EastEnders icon and forgotten soap role

    Between 2006 to 2016, Lynda landed another iconic role when she played Jane Beale's mother Linda Clarke in BBC soap EastEnders.

    Linda surprised Jane by arriving for her and Ian Beale's wedding, before making intermittent appearances for the next decade.

    Her stint on Albert Square even led to some huge storylines, including sharing a passionate kiss with Patrick Trueman, before departing Walford for Florida in 2016.

    However, this was not Lynda's only soap role, as she also played Renee Turnbull in ITV soap Coronation Street in 1997.

    She was also nominated for the best supporting actress BAFTA for her work on BBC Four play The Road to Coronation Street in 2010.

    Famous husband

    Lynda was married twice in her life – first to hairdresser Carol London from 1962 until their divorce in 1966.

    She later remarried and was not the only famous star in her family, with Lynda tying the knot with jazz pianist and musical director John Lee in 1966.

    The couple tended to keep their personal life away from the public eye and remained married until John's death in 2001.

    Lynda also welcomed two children called Sarah and Morgan.

    Tragic death

    Fans and friends from the world of entertainment were left devastated in 2022, when Lynda died on March 5, 2022 at the age of 82 years old.

    Her death was announced by her agent Donna French, saying: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved client Lynda Baron … we have lost a leading light of our world.

    "We extend our deepest condolences to her daughter Sarah, her son Morgan and all her family."

    Fans flocked to social media to pay tribute to the beloved star, with one saying: "RIP Lynda Barron. Always Nurse Gladys and Aunty Mable for me."

    "RIP Lynda Barron. Another small part of my childhood gone," added a second, while a third penned: "What a fine actress. RIP."

    Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley took to Twitter to share photographs of her and Lynda together, saying: "GOD BLESS YOU LYNDA REST IN PEACE. You played my mum for four wonderful, memorable years in Fat Friends … I learnt so much from you, but mostly we ALWAYS laughed together, your energy will live on FOREVER."

    Gold TV channel, which often airs episodes of Open All Hours, also paid tribute on their social media pages as they said: "We’re all deeply saddened by the passing of Lynda Baron who was well-loved as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel in both Open All Hours and Still Open All Hours. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

    For more of the latest showbiz news from Daily Star, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.


    • Dinnerladies cast now – tragic death, Corrie, addiction battle and rival soap roles
    • ITV Watching stars now – huge fortune left in will, co-star romance and career U-turn
    • BBC's Morecambe and Wise secrets – unearthed lost episodes, royal fans and third star
    • Eastenders
    • BBC

    Source: Read Full Article