Jennifer Moss (actress)
10 January 1945|
Wigan, Lancashire, England, UK
|Died||5 October 2006
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, UK
Jennifer Victoria "Jenny" Moss (10 January 1945 – 5 October 2006) was an English actress and singer born in Wigan, Lancashire. She was best known for her role as Lucille Hewitt on the long-running soap opera, Coronation Street, which she played from 1960 to 1974.
Moss first achieved fame as a twelve year old as one of the child actors on the BBC's light entertainment programme Children's Hour. It was there that she first came to the attention of actor Tony Warren, who would later become the originator of Coronation Street.
Moss moved into television in the early 1960s, and appeared in June Evening and Magnolia Street for BBC Television. At the age of 15, she joined Coronation Street in episode four as the programme's first wildchild Lucille Hewitt, a role she played until she was sacked in 1974 after 14 years and 756 episodes.
In 1961, during the Equity strike, Moss used her freedom away from the Street to concentrate on other projects. She appeared in a West End musical, and made her debut on the big screen when she co-starred with David Hemmings, Veronica Hurst, John Pike and Joan Newell in the beat film Live It Up! (1963), singing Please Let It Happen To Me.
For a short while, it looked like Moss was going to make it big as a pop star, but when her debut single Hobbies, produced by Joe Meek failed to make the UK top 40, it did not happen. Moss did however record a number of other songs which remained unreleased until 2007, when a CD compilation album Let's Go With Joe Meek's Girls was released.
Below is a complete list of songs that Moss recorded with Meek:
- Hobbies / Big Boys - Columbia DB 7063 June 1963
- Please Don't Say Goodbye
- Please Let It Happen To Me (from Live It Up!)
- When My Boy Comes Marching Home
All tracks appear on the Let's Go With Joe Meek's Girls album
After spending much of the 1970s and 1980s in relative obscurity, Moss finally beat her demons and slipped back into acting.
She was heard on the Liverpool BBC radio soap opera The Merseysiders, and was seen as an extra on Channel 4's Brookside. From 1986-88, she had a regular role as Stephen McGann's mother in the BBC comedy series Help!, and in 1989, she appeared as a waitress in The Bread Christmas Special.
Jennifer returned to guest TV shows in the late 1990s, appearing on Tony Warren's episode of This Is Your Life, L!VE TV and Sky Soaps. In 1997, she appeared opposite Patricia Routledge in the Woman of the Year episode of the BBC detective series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, playing a nosy neighbour.
In 2000, Moss appeared on the programme After They Were Famous, and a year later was interviewed on Life After the Street.
Moss successfully battled alcoholism in the 1980s, which was ultimately the reason of her being sacked from Coronation Street by then producer, Susi Hush, for bad behaviour in 1974. Moss stated that she drank to numb the pain she felt after the death of her father, Reg.
In an interview with the Evening Times in 1979, Moss appeared as a tragic case. Now living in a three-apartment house in Wigan, found for her by the local Social Works Department when she was homeless, Moss said: "My youngest daughter, Sarah, is only three years old and is mentally handicapped... while I was pregnant I was drinking all the time. I will go to my grave with this damage to my child on my conscience." Her eldest daughter, Naomi (like Sarah) was taken into care, and her baby boy had died when he was three days old in 1976.
In August 1980, it was reported that Moss and her then fourth husband had broken into a local Labour club in a search for drink. She left court and was put on probation for two years.
Moss joined Alcoholics Anonymous and decided to settle in Liverpool in 1982, on the basis that the city had 28 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every week. She lived in a house owned by the Merseyside Housing Improvement Trust and began to sort her life out.
Before reviving her acting career, she took on various jobs as a waitress and a taxi driver but there were also court appearances for breaking and entering and shoplifting, a charge of which she was cleared.
She was married five times. She wed her first husband, the son a millionaire in 1968, but they divorced the following year after Jennifer gave birth to their daughter. She then married a Leeds motor dealer who was violent to her. Her third marriage was to a man ten years her junior and an alcoholic, and her fourth marriage to a Liberal worker eighteen years younger than her also dissolved quickly. In 1989, Moss wed her fifth husband, computer software expert and Cambridge graduate Stephen Ramsden, and was happily married to him until she died.
Towards the end of her life, there were happy times for Moss. She had been reconciled with her daughter Naomi, who later married and made Moss a grandmother. She was also often reunited with former and current Coronation Street stars when she attended launches and anniversary parties. She and her husband Stephen ran an Internet stamp collecting business.
According to the Wigan News, Moss had been in failing health in recent years, but made a spiritual pilgrimage to India in the last year, where she finally came to terms with her father's death.
Moss died in October 2006 at her home in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. Her wishes were to be buried next to her father, Reg, whose gravestone already bore Jenny Moss' name before she died. She had been estranged from her late mother, Dora.
- Corrie.net profile of Jennifer Moss and her character, Lucille Hewitt
- Jennifer Moss at the Internet Movie Database