British actress Ann Emery has died, aged 86.
Emery, whose most famous role was as landlady Ethel Meaker in BBC children's show Rentaghost, passed away on Thursday (29Sep16).
The star, who was the half-sister of British comedian DICk Emery, played the character between 1976 and 1984, and was also a member of the original West End cast of musical Billy Elliot, which was composed by Elton John.
She played the role of Grandma when the show, based on the film about a ballet-loving working class boy, opened at London's Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005.
After hearing news of Emery's death, Stephen Daldry, who directed the original West End production of Billy Elliot, paid tribute to the actress.
"Ann Emery has been at the heart of the Billy Elliot family for over a decade," he told WhatsOnStage.com. "She created the role of Grandma over 11 years ago, and has been central to the lives of hundreds of children who performed with her.
"She was herself a child of the theatre, whose enthusiasm and joy was always apparent. Her first appearance at the Victoria Palace was in the Crazy Gang in the 1930s. She will be remembered fondly, and today deeply missed. What a treat it was to have known her."
Acclaimed theatre choreographer Matthew Bourne also offered a tribute, writing on Twitter, "Beloved by everyone who knew her and had the joy of working with her... RIP dear #AnnEmery."
Emery also appeared in the The DICk Emery Show, as Mrs. Rocket in the BBC's Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde and in theatre productions of My Fair Lady and Betty Blue Eyes. She retired from acting last year (15).
The actor says he isn't "holding out for more money or doing anything like that".
The drama will be making its return to the streaming service in the near future.
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